Author Topic: Should we try to eliminate religion?  (Read 15885 times)

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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2011, 05:01:56 PM »
BTW, when I talk about "eliminating" religion, I mean it in the same sense we use when we talk about "eliminating" racism or sexism.  It is not possible to completely rid the world of every single racist or sexist thought, nor is it moral or desirable to set out to physically exterminate every racist and sexist.  But we can work to break their power on a societal level, so that racist and sexist thoughts and actions exist only furtively in the shadows, and must always fear the white-hot light of scrutiny and social rejection.  We should want to see the same thing happen to religion and other ridiculous, false beliefs and epistemologies.

Lets follow that comparison to it's logical conclusion. Racism and sexism are now illegal actions and there are punishments set in law to deal with infractions. Do you propose to outlaw religious ideology? If not then those are not valid comparisons.

Edit to add:
If so, then please remember the civil war. Are we ready for that kind of action?

Re edit to add:
kcrady, I want you to know that what I am about to do is not for the purpose of mocking you. I just hope to tweek your argument a little to bring it closer to home.

I suppose I should have been more clear on the spanking issue.  I don't think that every parent has to be hitting their kids all the time.  No, we don't have to spank children publicly or ridicule them when they misbehave.  If someone wants to try gentle hand-holding with them and say, "There, there, you can do whatever you want just try to be careful Ok?" with a nice, big smile, go for it.  Let a thousand flowers bloom. 

However, I think spanking definitely has a place in responsible parenting strategy and tactics, and that children should not be privileged with a pass, by anyone who cares enough about society to raise their kids right.  If you're the type who would tiptoe carefully around your kids feelings  then by all means, do the same for adults when they commit a crime. But, I think it is hypocritical to sneer derisively at those criminals while advocating that we make all efforts never to offend them just because they have broken the law.

Please accept my apology if I have stepped over the line here. I sincerely mean no offense to you. I just happen to think that spanking is okay if used properly. Although my stance on the issue is evolving.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 06:00:11 PM by jaybwell32 »
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Offline shnozzola

Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #30 on: November 27, 2011, 06:26:41 PM »
What are the "core" teachings of Jesus? 
Whatever set you pick, on what basis do you define them (and not others) to be the "core?" 
I admit an obvious bias from growing up with these teachings and not ancient eastern teachings which I also like.  I did say that “In our liberal Church of the Brethren admitted SPAG”, realizing that my folk’s church picks and chooses their own “core teachings” of Jesus as much as anybody. 
Where is Jesus humble? 
These are some places where my folks would find humility as a teaching of Jesus
 
Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 
John 13:4-5 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. [5] After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Matthew 20:28   just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve
( Matthew 18:4) "Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
( Mark 10:43-44) Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all."
Luke 14:8-11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

Growing up as a member of the Church of the Brethren, I was surrounded by the pacifist parts of Christianity.  It’s where I come from. 
Those concepts don't originate with Jesus, and can be taught to children without reference to him.
Gnu, I realize the Golden Rule is older than Christianity.  I understand you may think it wrong to present it with Jesus' teaching.  I just wondered if you thought it wise to include some of the philosophy of Jesus when raising children.  Thank you both for your answers. 
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Offline albeto

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2011, 06:28:10 PM »
Yes, they're wrong and yes, they're ridiculous. I was just saying that the latter does not imply the former.
IIRC there were a few conspiracy theories that were completely ridiculous, yet they turned out to be true. Hell, a "few" years ago, the idea that atoms existed was completely ridiculous, yet it was correct.
Saying that an argument is ridiculous does not invalidate it; therefore it should not be used as a strategy.

I interpret this to suggest withholding public ridicule when appropriate because theist ideas might be right after all, we just can't know.  I suspect that's not what you mean.   I have an increasingly difficult time finding anything worth respect with regards to the Christian theology.  Giggling at silliness, refusing to take arguments seriously, showing no guilt for daring to not believe are ways I can see the theist argument being belittled.  Mockery is great for those witty enough to pull it off.  I'm not one of those but I can certainly raise my kids to recognize when people piss on their leg and call it rain (that's the extent of my witty mockery skills ;D ). 

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2011, 06:59:36 PM »
shnozzola:
Quote
Gnu, I realize the Golden Rule is older than Christianity.  I understand you may think it wrong to present it with Jesus' teaching.  I just wondered if you thought it wise to include some of the philosophy of Jesus when raising children.
I'd be happy to include the good bits, but I wouldn't teach them at an early age about Jesus himself because of all the baggage associated with him.

And when they do inevitably learn about Jesus and Christmas, from their friends or the television, I'd be putting more effort into deconstructing the myth than emphasizing the positives.


Offline jetson

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2011, 07:26:34 PM »

Lets follow that comparison to it's logical conclusion. Racism and sexism are now illegal actions and there are punishments set in law to deal with infractions. Do you propose to outlaw religious ideology? If not then those are not valid comparisons.

Edit to add:
If so, then please remember the civil war. Are we ready for that kind of action?


Racism and sexism are not illegal actions.  There are certain activities that can be traced to racism and sexism that might break our secular laws, but that's where the comparison ends.  It is socially unacceptable to be a racist or a sexist, and that's the same place religion belongs.  And isn't it funny how there is a strong possibility that racism, sexism, and homophobia have plenty of support from  - you guessed it - religions.

There is a theme in these "mockery" ideas that I think you are missing.  It is not THE solution, it is one method, that should be used by those who are willing, and yes, even by those less willing, in order to break the ice and get the ball rolling.  This is no easy task, marginalizing something with the stranglehold that Christianity has on society, for example.  It's going to require something more than patience.  It's going to require real action, by people willing to be on the front line, so to speak.  It's not for everyone, but a formidable army is not comprised of only front line soldiers.  It takes a lot of back office help was well.

There is no proposal on the table to outlaw religious thought, or ideology.  The proposal is to marginalize it into the stupid, delusional and mythological nonsense that it is, and push it into the dark, dusty corners of society, where it can do far less harm that it is currently doing. 

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2011, 08:01:50 PM »
Racism and sexism are not illegal actions.  There are certain activities that can be traced to racism and sexism that might break our secular laws, but that's where the comparison ends.

I am having difficulty wrapping by brain around what you just said. Religion is also not an action. Praying is (sort of) raising money for Lottie Moon is. Discriminating a black person is. There are laws against discrimination and no court of law is going to uphold your case just because you use the Bible to justify your discrimination or sexual harassment. Currently there are no laws against practicing a religion. But there are laws protecting others from harmful actions no matter what the "justification" might be. So it seems kind of redundant to focus on the harmful influence of religion when there are laws already in place to protect us from them. Hence the questions I asked.

Where am I missing the point?[1]

 

Quote
And isn't it funny how there is a strong possibility that racism, sexism, and homophobia have plenty of support from  - you guessed it - religions.

I think it's tragically disgusting, yes.

Quote
There is a theme in these "mockery" ideas that I think you are missing.  It is not THE solution...

I am aware of that. I have offered my support in very real terms to Joe for his plan.

Quote
There is no proposal on the table to outlaw religious thought, or ideology.

Am I wrong in my apprehension of the possibility that such a proposal could come from all this at some point in the future? 

Quote
The proposal is to marginalize it into the stupid, delusional and mythological nonsense that it is, and push it into the dark, dusty corners of society, where it can do far less harm that it is currently doing.

I'm all for that. But the methods to achieve that goal and their potential consequences need to be very carefully considered.
 1. Seriously, if I'm not getting it what am I missing?
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 08:05:11 PM by jaybwell32 »
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2011, 08:04:13 PM »
Here's something I don't get.  When asked "If God exists, would you accept Jesus as your savior?" people here all line up to say that they would stand face to face with Almighty Yahweh himself in all his limitless malevolent power and say, "NO!  Send me to Hell for eternity if you want, but I will never worship you!"  Like this:

So everyone else would accept eternal damnation rather than submit to the most powerful thing in the universe?  And in fact the creator itself?  You would go against the universe itself?  Just to be stubborn?

I'm sorry, but this is just pathetic. You are pathetic. If you would rather submit yourself to the most evil being in all of existence rather than fight against it, you are nothing but a selfish coward, plain and simple. You are no better than the self-described "liberal" theists who don't do anything to stop the fundies from discriminating against and/or killing whomever they damn well please.

This is not about being stubborn. I admit that sometimes I can be stubborn, but this is about fighting against evil. I would gladly go to hell for the rest of eternity if it meant that even a single life form in the universe would be free from the tyranny of such a being.

But, contemplate the idea of similar defiance in the face of ordinary, mortal Christians, and some of the same people say, "Noooo, we can't do that, they might get mad at us!"

What am I missing here?

What you're missing is the flaw in your comparison. God is a prick. He is an evil, cruel, capricious bully. It's one thing to tell him to go off and multiply with himself while you casually flip him the bird.

There's a difference in treating the people who follow god in that manner, however. Most of them aren't bad people. At worst most of them are simply deluded, but good-intentioned. Going around telling them that they're evil people who cause pain and suffering and condone rape, etc. the same way that you would do with god is not the same thing. It's actually more than a little dickish (although a certain amount of dickishness can occasionally be called for in such cases). Some people might have a problem with reacting to the relatively innocent followers in the same manner as they would the vicious, child-murdering god.

There's also the case of how it might affect religious loved ones. Perhaps they think that a different tactic would accomplish the goal better. There are a lot of potential different reasons for it. Just because something is done in one instance doesn't mean a person would naturally feel it necessary to apply it in every other possible instance.


Lets follow that comparison to it's logical conclusion. Racism and sexism are now illegal actions and there are punishments set in law to deal with infractions. Do you propose to outlaw religious ideology? If not then those are not valid comparisons.

Jayb, your conclusion is hardly logical. You're concluding that a goal to marginalize and discredit religion is equivalent to outright outlawing it, or imposing some draconian prohibition against a persons freedom to worship. Nothing has been said to that effect. You seem to insist on taking the narrowest possible view of what is being said, for some reason.

You already do exactly what is being suggested in regards to other beliefs. If I were to sit here and type a long-winded rant about how the damned Jews control the banks and the media and how Hitler had the right idea, you would be one of those in line to tear me a new one, wouldn't you? You would look down on me and mock me, and rightly so. You would do the same if I made racist or sexist comments as well, would you not? You would push them away and claim they were ridiculous. The same thing is being said here in regards to religion.
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Offline jetson

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2011, 08:13:56 PM »
Jayb, I just wanted to clarify that it is not illegal to be racist, or sexist.  It might be illegal to refuse a seat on a public bus based on race, or to skip a job applicant because of race, but racism is not illegal.  The United States has plenty of racists alive and well.  That's all I wanted to point out.

I would not support any sort of law against religion.  I would support completely secular laws, and a complete and distinct separation of religious beliefs, from societies rules and laws.  I am personally fed up with the worn out mantra from Christians that proclaim "the U.S. is  based on Judeo-Christian principles."  I've even conceded that it may well be true, but I don't give two shits.  It's time to remove those outdated principles, and replace them with something more secular, and modern.  You know, without the woo!

I've often asked people about these "principles" that we started out with, and as expected, they don't want to rewind the clock - they simply want to foist those old principles around current societies.  Societies that were unheard of back then in terms of mixed families, same-sex families, single parenting, grand-parent homesteading, etc.  The principles must change to keep up with the changing family structures and society in general.  Attitudes have changed so dramatically, it's not even worth talking about - but they insist on clinging to the old ways?

And again, this is a daunting task, to say the least.  But it has to start somewhere, and the attention to atheism is fairly strong right now - at least to those paying attention.  Admittedly, many moderate believers are fairly clueless about the "new atheism" brought in by the likes of Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and Dennett.  Perhaps we atheists active online today are the next front line?  We're at least talking to each other, and we seem to agree that there is harm coming directly from religious based ideologies.

« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 08:17:27 PM by jetson »

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2011, 11:04:33 PM »
Quote
Gnu, I realize the Golden Rule is older than Christianity.  I understand you may think it wrong to present it with Jesus' teaching.  I just wondered if you thought it wise to include some of the philosophy of Jesus when raising children.

It's important that you realize the biblical Jesus likely never existed at all. Most of his story is simply a rehashing of the origin story of Horus, a much older Egyptian god. Most of his supposed good deeds and teachings were added into the bible over the centuries. While the bible does contain a lot of common-sense good behavior guidelines (we'll just ignore that 99% of the book is hatred, violence, and nonsense for now) there's no evidence that Jesus ever said or did any of it, nor that he even existed at all.

Teach your children to be good people, but I don't think it's necessary at all to teach them about Jesus.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2011, 11:10:22 PM »
Quote
Gnu, I realize the Golden Rule is older than Christianity.  I understand you may think it wrong to present it with Jesus' teaching.  I just wondered if you thought it wise to include some of the philosophy of Jesus when raising children.

It's important that you realize the biblical Jesus likely never existed at all. Most of his story is simply a rehashing of the origin story of Horus, a much older Egyptian god. Most of his supposed good deeds and teachings were added into the bible over the centuries. While the bible does contain a lot of common-sense good behavior guidelines (we'll just ignore that 99% of the book is hatred, violence, and nonsense for now) there's no evidence that Jesus ever said or did any of it, nor that he even existed at all.

Teach your children to be good people, but I don't think it's necessary at all to teach them about Jesus.

Quick question, why do you remove the name of the person you are quoting? You are right, it isn't necessary to teach kids about Jesus.
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #39 on: November 27, 2011, 11:19:29 PM »
Quote
Quick question, why do you remove the name of the person you are quoting?

I copy and paste the text I want to reply to, and use the 'Insert Quote' button. I don't remove the names, I just don't take the time to add them.

If Jesus really existed, and was truly a humble man, I doubt he would care if he was remembered, as long as his message lived on.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 11:24:13 PM by joebbowers »
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #40 on: November 27, 2011, 11:29:27 PM »

Lets follow that comparison to it's logical conclusion. Racism and sexism are now illegal actions and there are punishments set in law to deal with infractions. Do you propose to outlaw religious ideology? If not then those are not valid comparisons.

Jayb, your conclusion is hardly logical. You're concluding that a goal to marginalize and discredit religion is equivalent to outright outlawing it, or imposing some draconian prohibition against a persons freedom to worship. Nothing has been said to that effect. You seem to insist on taking the narrowest possible view of what is being said, for some reason.

I can't put my finger on an exact reason I do this. Why I "feel" so strongly about that possibility. I can say that, generally speaking, my personal philosophy has always been "hope for the best but prepare for the worst". That doesn't really explain why I get so sensitive about calls to marginalize whole groups of people does it?

Quote
You already do exactly what is being suggested in regards to other beliefs. If I were to sit here and type a long-winded rant about how the damned Jews control the banks and the media and how Hitler had the right idea, you would be one of those in line to tear me a new one, wouldn't you?

First in line.

Quote
You would look down on me and mock me, and rightly so. You would do the same if I made racist or sexist comments as well, would you not?

Yes, but probably not as vehemently for some reason.

Quote
You would push them away and claim they were ridiculous. The same thing is being said here in regards to religion.

I know, I know...*sigh* I just get so nervous about the prospect of another Holocaust in our time. Religion is a deeply personal issue. People do not want to let go of it. Solving the problem of religion is far more complicated than solving the Gordian knot.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #41 on: November 27, 2011, 11:32:16 PM »
Quote
Quick question, why do you remove the name of the person you are quoting?

I copy and paste the text I want to reply to, and use the 'Insert Quote' button. I don't remove the names, I just don't take the time to add them.

Ahh. Okay if you look next to the "modify" button at the upper right side of someones comment you will see the "quote" button. Just click that and it will automatically pull up the Post Reply screen with their quote and name. Takes no time at all.
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Online screwtape

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #42 on: November 27, 2011, 11:34:01 PM »
I copy and paste the text I want to reply to, and use the 'Insert Quote' button. I don't remove the names, I just don't take the time to add them.

What jay said.  You do not need to add it.  If you go to the quoting tutorial, it explains it. 
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Offline kcrady

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #43 on: November 28, 2011, 01:42:25 AM »
Lets follow that comparison to it's logical conclusion. Racism and sexism are now illegal actions and there are punishments set in law to deal with infractions. Do you propose to outlaw religious ideology? If not then those are not valid comparisons.

As Jetson has already explained, you cannot be arrested in the United States[1] for being a racist or a sexist.  The laws you're talking about (assuming you're talking about the U.S., and not some other country) are laws that forbid discrimination by racists and sexists against minorities and women.  The equivalent laws WRT religion would enforce things like marriage equality (right of gays to marry), no officially-established prayer in schools, no requirement to teach Christian creation mythology as science, laws protecting the freedom of all religions and none (e.g., supporting the right of Native Americans to use peyote in their rites despite the fact that it makes baby Jesus cry), no official Federal government endorsements of Christianity, and so on.  Some of this vicious persecution of our poor Christian hegemons already exists!  The horror!  The horror!  People say 'Happy Holidays' in Wal-Mart, and the next thing you know: CHRISTIANS IN CONCENTRATION CAMPS!  AAAAIIIIIIIIII!

Edit to add:
If so, then please remember the civil war. Are we ready for that kind of action?

If they are, and you aren't, then I guess you better get right with Jesus before the Christians kick your ass.  Just by being an atheist you already anger them.  You are an offense unto God, and it's because of people like you that God sends hurricanes and refuses to protect our skyscrapers with magic forcefields against Islamic terrorists in airliners.  America would be a perfect happy utopia just like in Leave it to Beaver if it wasn't for people like you rejecting God and inviting His judgment upon this nation! 

If Christians really will start a Second Civil War if we don't let them walk all over us, then, yep, somebody get me one of those blue uniforms like great-great grandpappy wore back in the day.  On the other hand, if they want to secede and turn the Red states into a third world theocracy, maybe we could just finger-wave and tell 'em not to let the door hit their asses on the way out, then join Canada.



The people who don't look forward eagerly to the destruction of the world get the nukes though. ;)

Re edit to add:
kcrady, I want you to know that what I am about to do is not for the purpose of mocking you. I just hope to tweek your argument a little to bring it closer to home.

I suppose I should have been more clear on the spanking issue.  I don't think that every parent has to be hitting their kids all the time.  No, we don't have to spank children publicly or ridicule them when they misbehave.  If someone wants to try gentle hand-holding with them and say, "There, there, you can do whatever you want just try to be careful Ok?" with a nice, big smile, go for it.  Let a thousand flowers bloom. 

However, I think spanking definitely has a place in responsible parenting strategy and tactics, and that children should not be privileged with a pass, by anyone who cares enough about society to raise their kids right.  If you're the type who would tiptoe carefully around your kids feelings  then by all means, do the same for adults when they commit a crime. But, I think it is hypocritical to sneer derisively at those criminals while advocating that we make all efforts never to offend them just because they have broken the law.

Please accept my apology if I have stepped over the line here. I sincerely mean no offense to you. I just happen to think that spanking is okay if used properly. Although my stance on the issue is evolving.
 1. The U.S. is where I live, the cultural context I'm most familiar with.  Things may be different in other countries.

Do you really think that mockery of religion = hitting people?  Bill Maher made a whole documentary (Religulous) mocking religion, and aired it in theaters all over the country.  How much jail time do you think he should get for assault?
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #44 on: November 28, 2011, 02:06:16 AM »
BM
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline kcrady

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2011, 02:19:41 AM »
I know, I know...*sigh* I just get so nervous about the prospect of another Holocaust in our time.

No one.  Is advocating.  A Holocaust.  Let me say that again: No one.  Is advocating.  A Holocaust.

We just don't want our society's decisions about bioethics and climate change being made by people who think The Flintstones was a historical documentary.  We don't want women and LGBTQ folks being treated as second class citizens because of scribblings on animal skins by some ancient barbarian warrior-priest who thought rain fell through hatches in a solid sky.

Religion is a deeply personal issue. People do not want to let go of it. Solving the problem of religion is far more complicated than solving the Gordian knot.

First of all, they're welcome to keep it.  I'd just like them to keep it to themselves.  They can worship and pray and sing songs all they like.  They can preach on street corners, pass out tracts, whatever they like.  First Amendment.  But, when one of them comes forward and says, "Hi.  I think the solution to a climate change-induced drought is to pray for rain.  I think the universe was created at least 2,000 years after people were erecting monolithic monuments at Gobekli Tepe.  I think it's OK to use up and destroy the Earth because Jesus is going to come and make us a new one Real Soon Now.  And that's why you should elect me to appoint the head of the EPA and have a veto over Federal funding for scientific research!" should be met with gales of laughter. 

I would like for people who believe that crap to be ashamed to say it in public (outside their church walls), especially in the context of campaigning for political office or anything else related to how our nation ought to be run.  Not afraid to say it because battlemechs from Dawkins' Robot Army will come stomp on them, or because a reborn Stasi will knock on their door at midnight.  Just ashamed/not taken seriously, in the same way that we don't hear mainstream political candidates talking about the value of a tinfoil hat in protecting against orbital mind-control lasers, or channeling ancient sages from Atlantis, or the shape-shifting alien lizards we call the British Royal Family.  People believe all those things, and they're not hauled off to camps or hung from lampposts.  They're just not deciding national policy on the basis of such beliefs and claiming that anyone who doesn't share them isn't a "Real American."  Christianity is no less ridiculous than any of those beliefs, and it doesn't deserve to be treated any differently.
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Offline One Above All

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #46 on: November 28, 2011, 02:38:40 AM »
Sorry for the delay. Power went out, then my internet was down... anyway, I'm here now.

Since many of us have been believers, and few if any believers have been practicing Rationalists in the sense I am talking about, we should have the advantage when it comes to modeling the thoughts and anticipating the behaviors of the other side.  If we are the smart, rational ones, we should be able to get inside their OODA loops.  We should be able to design strategies and tactics that work more often than not.  If we fail regularly, if the strategy and tactics of our opponents are superior (and we fail to learn from this and adopt strategy and tactics that are better still) then we are simply not practicing our Art at all.

We can create various types of arguments that will work on various types of people[1], but we will never have a "complete victory". These people are like the "bluepills" in the Matrix. Their brains simply cannot handle the fact that everything they've dedicated their lives to is wrong, so they will deny it until they die.

Mockery is only one relatively small part of a strategy to shame the ridiculously irrational into silence and inaction, the way racists and sexists have been largely shamed into silence and inaction.

Shame can come without ridicule.
Imagine this:
You are a theist. You and an atheist start talking. He finds out you're a theist and yells "Hey, your beliefs are fucking retarded, man! Seriously? We all came from a rib-woman and a dust-man? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Here, have some rational arguments against that."
How would you react?
I know what I'd do. After the first sentence, I'd have ignored him.

Now imagine this:
You are a theist. You and an atheist start talking. He finds out you're a theist. You have a debate about the existence of god, he refutes your every argument with his superior knowledge of the Bible, logic and analogies.
How would you react?

BTW, when I talk about "eliminating" religion, I mean it in the same sense we use when we talk about "eliminating" racism or sexism.  It is not possible to completely rid the world of every single racist or sexist thought, nor is it moral or desirable to set out to physically exterminate every racist and sexist.  But we can work to break their power on a societal level, so that racist and sexist thoughts and actions exist only furtively in the shadows, and must always fear the white-hot light of scrutiny and social rejection.  We should want to see the same thing happen to religion and other ridiculous, false beliefs and epistemologies.

Of course.

I interpret this to suggest withholding public ridicule when appropriate because theist ideas might be right after all, we just can't know.  I suspect that's not what you mean.   I have an increasingly difficult time finding anything worth respect with regards to the Christian theology.  Giggling at silliness, refusing to take arguments seriously, showing no guilt for daring to not believe are ways I can see the theist argument being belittled.  Mockery is great for those witty enough to pull it off.  I'm not one of those but I can certainly raise my kids to recognize when people piss on their leg and call it rain (that's the extent of my witty mockery skills ;D ). 

Sorry, that's not what I meant at all. If you read the part I quoted from kcrady, you'll see that he asked me to give examples. I did. I'm not saying "let's not ridicule them because they might be right". They're not.
I'm saying "let's not ridicule them because some bad shit might happen". We all know how fundies good christians are; they're not above killing anyone cleansing the United States of America God, and they would probably be prayed for if they did it.
Hell, given the fundies' good christians' usual state of mind, I'm surprised they haven't tried to exterminate all of us convert us using the power of the holy ghost because of the billboards.
 1. Note that humans are individuals, so no argument will ever have a 100% success rate, regardless of how good it is.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline joebbowers

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2011, 03:26:51 AM »
I don't get along with my parents because when I was a kid I ate too much, I never exercised, and I got really fat. They never called me on it, they never tried to get me to change. It affected all of my relationships, my job, my health, my self-image. That may be coming from love, but it's irresponsible parenting, and I blame them for it.

A couple of years ago I was dating a gorgeous girl who didn't want to get serious with me because of my weight. She said that it was embarassing to be seen with me. She wasn't mean, but she didn't sugar-coat it. Over the next year I lost about 120 pounds and went from US size 44 pants to size 34 (32 if I squeeze it in) It's a daily struggle but I've kept almost all of it off.

It's called tough love. Sometimes people need to be called on their bullshit.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 03:31:23 AM by joebbowers »
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2011, 03:45:11 AM »
Quote from: Lucifer
Imagine this:
You are a theist. You and an atheist start talking. He finds out you're a theist and yells "Hey, your beliefs are fucking retarded, man! Seriously? We all came from a rib-woman and a dust-man? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Here, have some rational arguments against that."
How would you react?

I might think twice about discussing my beliefs in public.

Winner: Atheist

Quote from: Lucifer
Now imagine this:
You are a theist. You and an atheist start talking. He finds out you're a theist. You have a debate about the existence of god, he refutes your every argument with his superior knowledge of the Bible, logic and analogies.
How would you react?

I'm used to it, I've heard all this satanic babble from misguided non-believers before. I have created rationizations in my head for each and every one of your arguments, and when we finally reach a question I can't answer I will simply point out that it is not God's will for us to understand His divine plan.

Winner: Theist

The war will not be won in this generation. We cannot win a logical debate with them, as their definition of logic is a moving goalpost. Remember, they are insane.

The goal in mocking them is not necessarily to change their minds, which will be impossible for most of them, but to silence them and marginize them. Make them look like kooks so polititions will be less likely to pander to them, the more moderate among them will begin to disassociate themselves and stop going to church altogether, their numbers and coffers will dwindle, they will become desperate and in their desperation they will reveal their true nature. Self-implosion will follow soon after.
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline One Above All

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2011, 05:22:54 AM »
<snip>
It's called tough love. Sometimes people need to be called on their bullshit.

Some parents are incapable of seeing their kids' flaws. It's called "bias". However, what she did was not "tough love", it was "telling the truth". The first is letting people learn from their mistakes without even trying to help or advise them, whereas the second is... well, it's telling the truth. In this case, a relative truth, but truth nonetheless.

I might think twice about discussing my beliefs in public.

Winner: Atheist

People should not be ashamed to discuss their beliefs in public. They should be ashamed of believing in nonsense and letting it affect their actions. However, we can achieve this without mocking them.
In this scenario, the atheist is not a winner, IMO. He's just a jerk.

I'm used to it, I've heard all this satanic babble from misguided non-believers before. I have created rationizations in my head for each and every one of your arguments, and when we finally reach a question I can't answer I will simply point out that it is not God's will for us to understand His divine plan.

Winner: Theist

Really depends on your definition of "winner". If by winner you mean "Small child who doesn't want to hear the truth because it's not 'nice'", then yes, the theist wins.

The war will not be won in this generation. We cannot win a logical debate with them, as their definition of logic is a moving goalpost.

There is no war going on. Such a thought only creates unnecessary tension between theists and atheists. Theists and atheists disagree on the existence of god. That's fine. As my signature says: "Truth is powerful and it prevails".
Eventually, everyone will be atheist, deist or pantheist[1]. No more fringe groups, no more discrimination (based on books written by people who thought the Earth was flat; people will always discriminate, even if they don't realize it), no more religious wars.

Remember, they are insane.

Irrational =/= Insane. All insane people are irrational, but not all irrational people are insane.

The goal in mocking them is not necessarily to change their minds, which will be impossible for most of them, but to silence them and marginize them. Make them look like kooks so polititions will be less likely to pander to them, the more moderate among them will begin to disassociate themselves and stop going to church altogether, their numbers and coffers will dwindle, they will become desperate and in their desperation they will reveal their true nature. Self-implosion will follow soon after.

Politicians pander to them because they agree with them and/or because they want to get more votes. That's the big problem we have here.
And, like I said, we can achieve this without resorting to childish tactics.
 1. I have to give some room to those who will cling to their beliefs regardless of the evidence against them.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2011, 06:09:45 AM »
There is no war going on. Such a thought only creates unnecessary tension between theists and atheists.
In the middle east, being an atheist is punishable by death.
Questioning Islam is punishable by death.
Insulting Mohammed is punishable by death.
Converting to another religion from Islam is punishable by death.

In developed nations, large numbers of Christians would happily murder you if they knew you were an atheist and thought they'd get away with it. They have no shame or hesitation in admitting it.1 In some states, there are measures in the works to ban atheists from holding public office, (Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have both endorsed them) literally taking away our ability to represent ourselves in government if they pass.

And that's a tiny sample of what's going on in the world today. Consider the thousands upon thousands of years of history of theists killing atheists.

Irrational =/= Insane. All insane people are irrational, but not all irrational people are insane.
Irrational and insane are synonyms, you can check your thesaurus. I choose 'insane' because it's got more teeth than 'irrational'. We should build and reinforce through repetition the association between insanity and religious belief. This may harden the resolve of the most hard-core religious, but moderates will begin to distance themselves.

Remember at one time the KKK had millions of members and was a legitimate voice in politics. When the civil rights movement began their marginalization of the KKK, moderates fled like rats from a sinking ship. Today only the hard-core remain, largely silent and forgotten, soon to be a mere footnote in the history books.

Politicians pander to them because they agree with them and/or because they want to get more votes.

I'm sure many politicians secretly agree with and would like to get more votes from the KKK too, and 50 years ago they would publicly pander to them. Today they don't, as the KKK has been marginalized.

And, like I said, we can achieve this without resorting to childish tactics.

We've repeatedly told you (in this thread and the last one that inspired it), and I think we all understand, that mocking is not the only method we should employ, nor is it the best solution for every situation, and we know that there are many different ways and degrees of mocking. In my original post from the other thread, mocking was only one of the several methods I suggested.

Nobody has said at any point that mocking is our only tool and we should use it exclusively, which is the phantom point you seem to be arguing against, unless I'm misunderstanding your point. Why do you keep coming back to this issue?

And by the way, in a testimony to the effectiveness of mockery, Christianity rose to power largely by mocking the very religions it's mythos was drawn from. The bible writers made Jesus turn water into wine to specifically to mock Dionysus, a Hellenistic god whom much of Jesus' origin story was based on. Dionysus loved wine and it was used in many Hellenist rituals (which is why wine is a large part of Christianity today). By making Jesus able to magically create wine whereas Dionysus could not, they made his power superior to that of Dionysus, and could win converts.

[1]
 1. See the thread here http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,20502.0.html
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 06:33:38 AM by joebbowers »
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline One Above All

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2011, 06:23:10 AM »
In the middle east, being an atheist is punishable by death. Questioning Islam is punishable by death. Converting to another religion from Islam is punishable by death.

That's what happens when a country turns into a theocracy founded by fundamentalists.

In developed nations, large numbers of Christians would happily murder you if they knew you were an atheist and thought they'd get away with it. They have no shame or hesitation in admitting it.1 some states, there are measures on the ballot to ban atheists from holding public office, (Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have both endorsed them) literally taking away our ability to represent ourselves in government if they pass.

True, but these people are the equivalent of the KKK - fringe groups who think that their way is the best and would do anything to get rid of any other opinions.
Also, I thought those measures had been removed already.

Add to that the thousands upon thousands of years of history of theists killing atheists.

People have been killing each other since the beginning of mankind. Granted, a very large percentage of these were due to religion, but these are not wars against atheism. They are wars, in which people seem to "let go" of their attempts to be unbiased and kill whomever disagrees with them.

Irrational and insane are synonyms, you can check your thesaurus. I choose 'insane' because it's got more teeth than 'irrational'. We should build and reinforce through repetition the association between insanity and religious belief.

I disagree with that definition. People are often irrational, but they are not insane. Insane people get medication and sometimes are locked away in asylums.
Unless you want to argue that insanity can be cured by the insane person (see all the former theists in the world), I'm sure you'll agree with this.

I'm sure many politicians secretly agree with and would like to get more votes from the KKK too, and 50 years ago they would publicly pander to them. Today they don't, as the KKK has been marginalized.

Because the KKK are a minority. Theists are not. They make up nearly 80% of the global population, if I'm not mistaken.

We've repeatedly told you (in this thread and the last one that inspired it), and I think we all understand, that mocking is not the only method we should employ, nor is it the best solution for every situation, and we know that there are many different ways and degrees of mocking. In my original post from the other thread, mocking was only one of the several methods I suggested.

Nobody has said at any point that mocking is our only tool and we should use it exclusively, which is the phantom point you seem to be arguing against, unless I'm misunderstanding your point. Why do you keep coming back to this issue?

I keep coming back to this issue because it's one of the few that I have a problem with. I also consider this tactic to be extremely childish and unnecessary, regardless of the others.

[1]
 1. 1 See the thread here http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,20502.0.html

Already saw it. Like I keep saying - these are fringe groups (within the so called "developed world"). They are dangerous, no doubt about that, but they are a minority, so we should be able to deal with them with ease.

Also, to add footnotes, all you have to do is add the [ nb ] and [ /nb ] (without spaces) in the proper place.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 06:25:29 AM by Lucifer »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2011, 07:11:39 AM »
That's what happens when a country turns into a theocracy founded by fundamentalists.

I'm not sure how that argues against my point. In fact I think it shows that this really is a war, and in those countries it's already been lost.

People have been killing each other since the beginning of mankind. Granted, a very large percentage of these were due to religion, but these are not wars against atheism. They are wars, in which people seem to "let go" of their attempts to be unbiased and kill whomever disagrees with them.

I am not talking about wars, although there have been plenty of religious wars. I was specifically referring to theists killing atheists because they were atheists. I disagree that a religious war is not a war against atheism. If you believe in god X and I believe in god Y, then I believe god X is imaginary, therefore you are an atheist because you do not believe in my god. Hellenists and Christians both called each other atheists.

Irrational and insane are synonyms, you can check your thesaurus. I choose 'insane' because it's got more teeth than 'irrational'. We should build and reinforce through repetition the association between insanity and religious belief.

I disagree with that definition. People are often irrational, but they are not insane. Insane people get medication and sometimes are locked away in asylums. Unless you want to argue that insanity can be cured by the insane person (see all the former theists in the world), I'm sure you'll agree with this.

Theists don't get medication or locked up because their form of insanity is socially acceptable. Psychologists just look the other way and ignore it. Andrea Yates killed her children because she was a Christian. Anders Breivik killed people because he was a Christian. These people killed in the name of their religious beliefs, not despite them. But religion gets a free pass and their insanity is blamed on other factors. How many serial killers are atheists? Better yet, and a statistic one can easily look up, how many prison inmates are atheists?[1] Criminals are almost exclusively theists.

Obviously some can be cured, and some cannot, but you bet your ass Andrea Yates is on meds right now.

EDIT: OMFG. I just looked up Andrea Yates. Her roomate in the mental hospital is Dena Schlosser, also a Christian who murdered her child to protect him from the coming apocalypse.

I'm sure many politicians secretly agree with and would like to get more votes from the KKK too, and 50 years ago they would publicly pander to them. Today they don't, as the KKK has been marginalized.

Because the KKK are a minority. Theists are not. They make up nearly 80% of the global population, if I'm not mistaken.
 1. 0.209%, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons statistics.

That's my point!

Also, to add footnotes, all you have to do is add the [ nb ] and [ /nb ] (without spaces) in the proper place.

Thanks[2]
 2. I didn't know that.  ;)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 07:23:19 AM by joebbowers »
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline One Above All

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2011, 07:20:19 AM »
I'm not sure how that argues against my point. In fact I think it shows that this really is a war, and in those countries it's already been lost.

I am not talking about wars, although there have been plenty of religious wars. I was specifically referring to theists killing atheists because they were atheists. I disagree that a religious war is not a war against atheism. If you believe in god X and I believe in god Y, then I believe god X is imaginary, therefore you are an atheist because you do not believe in my god. Hellenists and Christians both called each other atheists.

Atheism is lack of belief in any gods; not just the "real" ones[1]. However, I still don't consider that a war, "merely" people killing other people for things that they cannot control (religion, skin color, who their parents are, et cetera).

Theists don't get medication or locked up because their form of insanity is socially acceptable. Psychologists just look the other way and ignore it. Andrea Yates killed her children because she was a Christian. Anders Breivik killed people because he was a Christian. But religion gets a free pass and their insanity is blamed on other factors. How many serial killers are atheists? Better yet, and a statistic one can easily look up, how many prison inmates are atheists?[2] Criminals are almost exclusively theists.
 2. 0.209%, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons statistics.

I know that criminal are almost exclusively theists, but this does not answer my point: Can an insane person cure himself of his own insanity? Or does it require some sort of external assistance, thus proving that religion is not insanity?

That's my point!

I'm saying that because the KKK are a minority (in the sense that the general public disagrees with them and would not vote for anyone who agreed with their extreme views), politicians do not care about getting their votes. However, atheists are also a minority, so politicians have two choices - pander to them or lose. I'm not saying that this is right (who would?), but that's one of the reasons why they do it.
If we mock them or try to use tactics to marginalize them, we will lose. It is absurd to think that a minority can marginalize the majority. All that we can do for now is deconvert as many as possible. The number of atheists has been steadily increasing all around the world. We are "winning", so to speak. Just because it's slow doesn't mean it's not happening. Look at evolution.

Thanks[3]
 3. I didn't know that.  ;)

You're welcome.
 1. Protip: Real gods are like the tooth fairy.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2011, 07:31:44 AM »
However, I still don't consider that a war, "merely" people killing other people for things that they cannot control (religion, skin color, who their parents are, et cetera).

There are leaders, there are soldiers, people are dying. You can call it what you want. And by the way, they call it a war[1].

I'm saying that because the KKK are a minority (in the sense that the general public disagrees with them and would not vote for anyone who agreed with their extreme views), politicians do not care about getting their votes.

That! IS! MY! POINT!

They were not always a minority! They used to have power! Ask yourself what happened? They were MARGINALIZED by the civil rights movement! Politicians pandered to them before that happened, but they don't now, and the KKK has lost it's relevance.

Theists are a majority today! If they are also marginalized, they will lose their moderate supporters, reducing them to a small group of extreme hard core members, and politicians will stop pandering to them!
 1. http://www.google.com/search?q=war+on+christianity
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 07:38:17 AM by joebbowers »
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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2011, 07:33:47 AM »
They were not always a minority! They used to have power!
<snip>

I'm gonna need some evidence for this.

Theists are a majority today! If they are also marginalized, they will lose their moderate supporters, reducing them to a small group of extreme hard core members, and politicians will stop pandering to them!

The minorities cannot marginalize the majority, by the very definition of "marginalize". It's absurd and illogical.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2011, 07:55:36 AM »
They were not always a minority! They used to have power!
<snip>

I'm gonna need some evidence for this.

They were never a majority but they were a very large minority. At the height of their power in the early 20th century, nearly 1 in 8 American males were members. In Indiana and Nebraska, it was 1 in 3. What they lacked in numbers they made up for in power. Many of their members were business leaders, government officials, and police. They were not always the insignificant batch of social pariahs they are today.

While their members did not constitute the majority, they were accepted by the majority. State governors invited them to make speeches at high school graduations!

The minorities cannot marginalize the majority, by the very definition of "marginalize". It's absurd and illogical.

Please explain then why nobody believes in Zeus, Dionysus, Ra, or Odin today.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 08:05:42 AM by joebbowers »
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline One Above All

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Re: Should we try to eliminate religion?
« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2011, 08:02:53 AM »
They were never a majority but they were a very large minority. At the height of their power in the early 20th century, nearly 1 in 8 American males were members. In Indiana and Nebraska, it was 1 in 3. What they lacked in numbers they made up for in power. Many of their members were business leaders, government officials, and police. They were not always the insignificant batch of social pariahs they are today.

Once again, evidence for their power?
We've already established that they were always a minority, since they were never a majority (not a false dichotomy; by definition you're either a minority or a majority), so now I want evidence for their power.

Please explain then why nobody believes in Zeus, Dionysus, Ra, or Odin today.

Same reason we don't believe in the gods that are worshiped nowadays. People started thinking and realized that it was a lie. Unfortunately, some (I'd say "most", but I have no evidence for that) went with a different lie (different religion), while others went for the truth (atheism).
EDIT: It's also possible that they just died out, although I don't think this has ever happened.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.