Author Topic: A funny thing theists assume about atheists  (Read 5113 times)

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Offline Whateverman

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2012, 10:47:24 AM »
You think Andrea Yates would have drowned her kids without religion? You think Hitler would have tried to annihilate the Jews without religion? The Crusades? 9/11?
I do, yes.
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Offline Zankuu

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2012, 10:47:49 AM »
Azdgari, I would think that should be the case for every Christian. The message conveyed in the story of Abraham is quite clear: toss your inner moral code aside because what God asks of you transcends your ethical views; if murder is what God asks then murder becomes moral and justified.
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Online Azdgari

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2012, 10:55:29 AM »
^^ Among those who have thought about the issue and stuck with their religion, I agree.  But as we know, that doesn't cover all Christians.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2012, 01:20:34 PM »
I don't accept joebbowers's presumption that religion was the direct cause of Andrea Yates's insanity and decision to kill her children.  He's stated before that he considers religion to be a form of insanity, so he appears to be using a form of confirmation bias when it comes to Yates - she's religious, he thinks religious people are insane, she killed her children because "God told her to", and it's easy for him to pick and choose things about her to support his conclusion that she wouldn't have done it.  It's the same general thing with his other statements - he's basing them off of specific examples picked out because they support those statements, but as far as I can tell he's not really considering anything but them.

As for Yates, she was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis.  It's important to note that this is a general category of mental illnesses that come about after childbirth, and there is no causal link between them and religious belief.  In other words, postpartum psychosis is something that can and does affect a number of women who have given birth, regardless of their religious beliefs or even if they have religious beliefs.  I don't deny that her religious beliefs affected her actions, however, I don't think that one can legitimately say that religious belief is the deciding factor either.  Now, I did misspeak earlier; I meant that women like Andrea Yates could have killed their children - or themselves - regardless of their religious belief, not that she would certainly have done so if she wasn't religious.  I'm not familiar enough with her case (or with psychology in general) to make the definite statement that she would have with any kind of certainty.  Perhaps she might not have...but there is literally no way to know that for sure, because you can't define the extent of a person's religious beliefs from the outside with any degree of certainty.  Maybe they were the absolute deciding factor that joe believes they were, or maybe they were a relatively minor factor that would have made no real difference, and maybe they were somewhere in between.

As for the other points joe commented on, perhaps he should go back and reread my post.  What I said is that Hitler could have targeted racial sub-types if he had not had a religious sub-group to target; the Crusades were a kind of imperialism and thus piety was not especially high on their list of priorities; and 9/11 was an example of asymmetric warfare which does not require religious belief.

As for his other examples, he can't exactly back them up with evidence, because no such evidence exists.  For example, we don't have societies where atheists are dominant, for example, so we can't very well know how likely atheistic societies would be to go to war.  We don't know whether an atheistic society could develop which rewarded the families of suicide bombers for their sacrifice and devotion.  We don't know whether an atheistic society would be immune to racism.  But given human nature, I think it is reasonable that all of these things could come about, and likely would.  Is it a certainty?  No, not unless it happens, but I would rather not whistle in the dark about something like this.

So, I will reiterate what I said earlier.  Yes, women suffering from postpartum psychosis can kill themselves or their children without religion.  Yes, you can have genocides without religion.  Yes, you can have imperialistic crusades without religion.  Yes, you can have asymmetric warfare where people use themselves as living bombs without religion.  Yes, you can have other excuses for war without religion.  Yes, you can have murderous racism and discrimination without religion.  And while those things may not be certain, I am not willing to grant joe's premise that history would have been one bit less bloody if religion had never been invented.  Because I understand that religion is a product of the human imagination, and I am not willing to assume that things somehow would have been better in the past if nobody had dreamed up religious beliefs.  Yes, that's a cynical way of looking at things, but given how often people repeat the mistakes made in the past, I don't think we can afford to look at it any other way.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2012, 01:27:52 PM »
.....you very specifically said that Andrea Yates, Hitler, the Crusades and 9/11 would all have happened anyway without religion.

Without religion we would still have war, but far fewer of them and they would be much smaller. It's hard convince people to leave their family and march to their possible death without being able to claim God is on your side, it's your destiny, and that you will be rewarded in the afterlife.

Absolutely agree with you.  But not impossible, otherwise atheists would never go to war, and there have been countless atheists, humanists, and whatnot prepared to lay down their lives for what they believed in.

First it was "those things would have happened anyway" now it's "not impossible". It's not impossible that under other circumstances Hitler would have been a gay burlesque dancer. My point is that to say that all of those events would have happened without religion is pretty far-fetched without some serious explanation which I have yet to see.

Eh?  My "not impossible" there was saying that you can convince people to die for something without religion. 

I'm quite positive that Hitler would have happened anyway.  Like I said, his regime didn't just hit the Jews - they hit trade unionists, the disabled, gypsies, and many other minority groups, regardless of faith.  Jews were a convenient social group to target, and I'm sure were targetted as much for their race as for their religion.

Why did he hate those groups?
Would he have been inspired to hate them without religion?
Would he have been motivated to destroy them without believing it was God's will?
Would he have been able to motivate others to destroy them without convincing them it was God's will?
Would he have been able to raise and command such a large force without the blessing of the Vatican?
Judaism is a religion, not a race.

Judaism is indeed a religion.  And being Jewish is a race.  Are you suggesting that any "cultural Jews" who didn't follow Judaism were patted on the head and left alone?

And the answer I give to all the above is yes - Hitler WOULD have still hated: he was a nut-job with a deep inferoiority complex who wanted to rule.  I'm positive that he would have done exactly the same stuff even if religion hadn't ever been invented.  Or is your point that without religion Hitler would have had no problems with anyone, and stayed being a housepainter?  He'd have been just as much a nutjob, haed anyone who wasn't "on his side" just as much.  Would he have had quite as large an army without the Vatican?  Who knows....but probably yes. 

One final point:

I'm sure atheist mothers have killed their kids, but not as a result of their atheism.

So you agree that you do NOT need religion to commit evil acts, provided you are loopy enough?  So even when you take religion out of the picture, mothers still kill their children...and yet you are positive that it was ONLY because of religion that she killed hers?  Sorry, but that doesn't add up.  If someone without religion can do it - presumably based solely on their phychoses - then I don't see how you can so categorically state that without her religion, those kids would still be alive.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2012, 01:46:00 PM »
I think there is confusion about calling them a "race" since there are Sephardic and Ashkenazi jews and that people can become Jewish, no matter their original ancestors origins.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2012, 01:48:40 PM »
I think there is confusion about calling them a "race" since there are Sephardic and Ashkenazi jews and that people can become Jewish, no matter their original ancestors origins.

Why exactly is there only one word for both (race and religion)?
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Offline velkyn

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2012, 01:54:46 PM »
that's a great question Lucifer. I'm going to hazard that it comes from the idea that there is something "special" about them, its one more way to seperate them from the rest of us apes.  "race" is such a screwed up word anyhow. 
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2012, 01:56:25 PM »
"race" is such a screwed up word anyhow.
Agreed, wholeheartedly.

Offline One Above All

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2012, 01:58:57 PM »
that's a great question Lucifer. I'm going to hazard that it comes from the idea that there is something "special" about them, its one more way to seperate them from the rest of us apes.  "race" is such a screwed up word anyhow. 

Probably something like that. Also, agreed on the "race" thing.
On an unrelated note, I'm Jewish. Does that mean that when DA MESSIAH comes I get "saved"? He's probably gonna be a little upset over all that blasphemy and non-belief...
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Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2012, 02:02:06 PM »
Anfauglir: I'm sorry, I think Joe's point flew right over your head.
it appears you haven't put much thought into it.
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Offline Whateverman

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2012, 02:06:29 PM »
Anfauglir: I'm sorry, I think Joe's point flew right over your head.
it appears you haven't put much thought into it.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2012, 04:08:02 PM »
Anfauglir: I'm sorry, I think Joe's point flew right over your head.
it appears you haven't put much thought into it.
Anfauglir puts plenty of thought into things.  I may not always agree with his conclusions, but he is among the best thinkers on this website.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2012, 04:58:40 PM »
Anfauglir: I'm sorry, I think Joe's point flew right over your head.
it appears you haven't put much thought into it.
Anfauglir puts plenty of thought into things.  I may not always agree with his conclusions, but he is among the best thinkers on this website.
I don't disagree with you, I like his posts too. But in this instance, I think he failed to comprehend Joe's point.
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Offline Whateverman

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #43 on: April 04, 2012, 05:52:22 PM »
Anfauglir: I'm sorry, I think Joe's point flew right over your head.
it appears you haven't put much thought into it.
Anfauglir puts plenty of thought into things.  I may not always agree with his conclusions, but he is among the best thinkers on this website.
I don't disagree with you

it appears you haven't put much thought into it.

Seems like disagreeing is exactly what you did
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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2012, 06:14:57 PM »
He said he didn't disagree (ie. he agreed) with Jaime that Anfauglir is one of the best thinkers on the site.

He also specified that despite that, in this case, he thinks Anfauglir isn't thinking things through as well as he usually does.

I don't see the contradiction, Whateverman.  Are you sure that you are thinking this through clearly?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #45 on: April 04, 2012, 06:26:19 PM »
Whateverman’s response to the thought put in by Bertaberts to Jaimelhers thoughts on Anfauglir’s general thought processes was, I think, possibly flawed thought.
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Offline Whateverman

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #46 on: April 04, 2012, 06:52:33 PM »
He said he didn't disagree (ie. he agreed) with Jaime that Anfauglir is one of the best thinkers on the site.

He also specified that despite that, in this case, he thinks Anfauglir isn't thinking things through as well as he usually does.
Bolding mine.   He did not say that.

Meh, it's a minor point at best.  My impression of Bert was that he was shooting from the hip
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #47 on: April 04, 2012, 10:20:23 PM »
Judaism is indeed a religion.  And being Jewish is a race.  Are you suggesting that any "cultural Jews" who didn't follow Judaism were patted on the head and left alone?

Just as Muslims think all white people must be Christian, cultural Jews would have been lumped in with the rest.

Quote
Hitler WOULD have still hated: he was a nut-job with a deep inferoiority complex who wanted to rule.  I'm positive that he would have done exactly the same stuff even if religion hadn't ever been invented.  Or is your point that without religion Hitler would have had no problems with anyone, and stayed being a housepainter?  He'd have been just as much a nutjob, haed anyone who wasn't "on his side" just as much.  Would he have had quite as large an army without the Vatican?  Who knows....but probably yes. 

I just don't get how you can say things would have been exactly the same under wildly different circumstances. He was a "nut-job with an inferiority complex" because his drunk Roman Catholic father was a strict disciplinarian and beat him. Would his father have been the same man in a world without religion?

So you agree that you do NOT need religion to commit evil acts, provided you are loopy enough?

Yes, but that is an oversimplification. Someone who is slightly imbalanced may be pushed deeper into psychosis by hyper-active agent detection, and fear combined with suppression of reason, reinforcement of delusion, and mistrust of medicine. In other words, religion.

On the other hand, someone who is slightly imbalanced, but not religious, might actually seek help, might not stop taking their meds against doctor's advice, and as kcrady brilliantly put it, they might resist the voices in their head if they believed them to be anything but God, particularly if we teach children to understand hyper-active agent detection while they're young as an inoculation against the various men of boogy.

So in a world without religion there would still be crazy people, but likely far fewer than we have now. The current religious climate is practically rolling them out shiny on a conveyor belt.

So even when you take religion out of the picture, mothers still kill their children...and yet you are positive that it was ONLY because of religion that she killed hers?  Sorry, but that doesn't add up.

Would there be car accidents without alcohol? Sure. But let's say you found a car wrapped around a tree with two empty bottles of Jack Daniels in the passenger seat and the driver passed out with a blood-alcohol level of 2.8. Then the driver wakes up and tell you how he'd been drinking all night and blacked out while trying to see how fast his new car would go. In his own words, he blames the alcohol.

Would you say "it would have happened anyway, the alcohol wasn't a factor"?

She knew she was predisposed to postpartum depression, yet she stopped taking her anti-psychotic meds to continue having children because of her religious beliefs. She even told her husband she didn't want to have more kids because she knew she might hurt them. He convinced her that God wanted her to have more kids. Hyper-active agent detection led her to believe that her children were possessed by Satan, delusions that her religious community supported. In her own words, she describes the trail of events that led her to drown her kids, and at every step where it could have gone the other way, religion steered it towards calamity.

If she were not religious, she would have listened to her doctors, stayed on her medication, had fewer children, and not been so affected by PPD. Without the horrific religious fairy tales of demonic possession by Satan and eternal fiery torment in her head, and without the stress of PPD, the voices in her head may have never manifested. Even if they did, if she had believed them to be anything but God, she would have been more likely to resist them and seek help.

If it were alcohol, you wouldn't hesitate to point the finger. Why do you resist now when the evidence is there? We're conditioned by society to look the other way as God makes his getaway from the scene of the crime, but at some point you've got to stop giving religion a free pass.

If someone without religion can do it - presumably based solely on their phychoses - then I don't see how you can so categorically state that without her religion, those kids would still be alive.

Research, and reason.
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #48 on: April 04, 2012, 10:26:31 PM »
On an unrelated note, I'm Jewish. Does that mean that when DA MESSIAH comes I get "saved"? He's probably gonna be a little upset over all that blasphemy and non-belief...

Do you believe in God? You are not Jewish. You are of middle-eastern or north African descent. If you participate in Jewish cultural festivals, that still doesn't make you Jewish.

A lot of atheists decorate Christmas trees and hide eggs for their kids at Easter. That doesn't make us Christians, it only means we grew up in Christian culture.
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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #49 on: April 04, 2012, 10:31:41 PM »
I am not willing to grant joe's premise that history would have been one bit less bloody if religion had never been invented.  Because I understand that religion is a product of the human imagination, and I am not willing to assume that things somehow would have been better in the past if nobody had dreamed up religious beliefs.

Well you heard him guys, let's pack it in. Shut down the website. He has looked through his crystal ball and seen that the world would be exactly the same without religion, so there's no point in what we're trying to accomplish here.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 10:37:22 PM by joebbowers »
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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2012, 10:38:57 PM »
I am not willing to grant joe's premise that history would have been one bit less bloody if religion had never been invented.  Because I understand that religion is a product of the human imagination, and I am not willing to assume that things somehow would have been better in the past if nobody had dreamed up religious beliefs.

Well you heard him guys, let's pack it in. Shut down the website. He has looked through his crystal ball and seen that the world would be exactly the same without religion, so there's no point in what we're trying to accomplish here.

I always thought it was from a lack of imagination.  Mental laziness. 

Gonna have to agree, strongly, with Joe and Steve Weinberg on this one.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 10:42:59 PM by Ice Monkey »
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #51 on: April 04, 2012, 10:46:43 PM »
On an unrelated note, I'm Jewish. Does that mean that when DA MESSIAH comes I get "saved"? He's probably gonna be a little upset over all that blasphemy and non-belief...

Do you believe in God? You are not Jewish. You are of middle-eastern or north African descent. If you participate in Jewish cultural festivals, that still doesn't make you Jewish.

A lot of atheists decorate Christmas trees and hide eggs for their kids at Easter. That doesn't make us Christians, it only means we grew up in Christian culture.

If his mama is Jewish, he's Jewish. Sit your tuckus down, have some matzo soup and relax, bubeleh. Tradishuuuuun! Tradition! (Everyone sing and dance the hora.)[1]
 1. My grandmother, who looked like Cicely Tyson as Miss Jane Pittman, raised so many Jewish children that she spoke Yiddish and we picked up some words....
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #52 on: April 04, 2012, 10:46:53 PM »
General rule indicated:
I don't disagree with you, I like his posts too.

Exception to rule indicated:
But in this instance, I think he failed to comprehend Joe's point.

So yes, he did say that, Whateverman.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #53 on: April 04, 2012, 11:22:14 PM »
I am not willing to grant joe's premise that history would have been one bit less bloody if religion had never been invented.  Because I understand that religion is a product of the human imagination, and I am not willing to assume that things somehow would have been better in the past if nobody had dreamed up religious beliefs.

Well you heard him guys, let's pack it in. Shut down the website. He has looked through his crystal ball and seen that the world would be exactly the same without religion, so there's no point in what we're trying to accomplish here.
Don't waste your time with this kind of foolish attempt at sarcasm.  It's not amusing, and your attitude here is just plain silly.  Pot-calling-kettle-black silly.  Or aren't you trying to suggest that the world would have been better if religion hadn't been invented, despite a complete lack of any hard evidence of your own as to how the world might have worked out without religious beliefs?  So tell me, how did you come up with this idea if you weren't using some kind of crystal ball to look back into the past to discover exactly how the world would have been without religious beliefs?

The difference between my attitude and yours is that I'm making a worst-case assumption - which you might have realized, if you'd spent a little less time trying to be sarcastic - knowing full well that it probably wouldn't have been that bad.  Whereas you're assuming that it would have been better, based on...what?  How do you know that a world where religious belief was never invented would have been better than the one we live in?

Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #54 on: April 05, 2012, 01:07:50 AM »
I am not willing to grant joe's premise that history would have been one bit less bloody if religion had never been invented.  Because I understand that religion is a product of the human imagination, and I am not willing to assume that things somehow would have been better in the past if nobody had dreamed up religious beliefs.

Well you heard him guys, let's pack it in. Shut down the website. He has looked through his crystal ball and seen that the world would be exactly the same without religion, so there's no point in what we're trying to accomplish here.
Don't waste your time with this kind of foolish attempt at sarcasm.  It's not amusing, and your attitude here is just plain silly.  Pot-calling-kettle-black silly.  Or aren't you trying to suggest that the world would have been better if religion hadn't been invented, despite a complete lack of any hard evidence of your own as to how the world might have worked out without religious beliefs?  So tell me, how did you come up with this idea if you weren't using some kind of crystal ball to look back into the past to discover exactly how the world would have been without religious beliefs?

The difference between my attitude and yours is that I'm making a worst-case assumption - which you might have realized, if you'd spent a little less time trying to be sarcastic - knowing full well that it probably wouldn't have been that bad.  Whereas you're assuming that it would have been better, based on...what?  How do you know that a world where religious belief was never invented would have been better than the one we live in?

I say we give it a shot.
Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion." -- Charlie Chaplin

Offline joebbowers

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Re: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #55 on: April 05, 2012, 03:11:50 AM »
...aren't you trying to suggest that the world would have been better if religion hadn't been invented, despite a complete lack of any hard evidence of your own as to how the world might have worked out without religious beliefs?

I'm not suggesting it, I'm flat out stating it as fact. The world would be better off without religion. I would have assumed that to be common knowledge among the atheists here. I mean there are literally thousands of posts on this website describing war, murder, famine, overpopulation, fear, ignorance, intolerance, hatred,  poverty and just about every other evil you can imagine, caused by religion.

You take religion out of the equation and the vast majority of human suffering would not have occurred. While it is possible that a world without religion would be just as violent, it is incredibly unlikely. I can say that without a crystal ball because we can examine history and study the chain of events that led up to it. We know generally how theists and atheists think, and we can predict an alternative outcome with some accuracy. That's not a crystal ball, it's called reasoned estimation.

I gave you a step-by-step description of Andrea Yates' religion-fueled spiral into despair which led to the deaths of her children, followed by a clear explanation of how things would most likely have gone the other way without religion, based on research of her mental state leading up to the event.

If you take away the most significant cause of an event, that event becomes far less likely to occur. To say that it all would have happened anyway is a ridiculous claim to make, and I think the onus is on you to provide the evidence. It would be the same as saying anyone who was struck by a car while crossing the street would have been struck by a car anyway if they weren't crossing the street, because it's possible that a car would have careened out of control off the highway and crashed into their living room.

The difference between my attitude and yours is that I'm making a worst-case assumption - which you might have realized, if you'd spent a little less time trying to be sarcastic - knowing full well that it probably wouldn't have been that bad.  Whereas you're assuming that it would have been better, based on...what?  How do you know that a world where religious belief was never invented would have been better than the one we live in?

You're assuming, whereas I'm basing my conclusion on research.
"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: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #56 on: April 05, 2012, 03:12:20 AM »
If his mama is Jewish, he's Jewish. Sit your tuckus down, have some matzo soup and relax, bubeleh. Tradishuuuuun! Tradition! (Everyone sing and dance the hora.)[1]
 1. My grandmother, who looked like Cicely Tyson as Miss Jane Pittman, raised so many Jewish children that she spoke Yiddish and we picked up some words....

This. Although I'm not 100% certain if my "I'm Jewish" statement was accurate. How many generations of non-Jewish Jews does it take to "wipe the slate clean", so to speak?
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: A funny thing theists assume about atheists
« Reply #57 on: April 05, 2012, 03:21:07 AM »
I understand that religion is a product of the human imagination
I always thought it was from a lack of imagination.  Mental laziness. 

You're both right. Religion is the result of imagination[1], but it survives because of mental laziness.
 1. hyper-active agent detection
"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