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Offline Grimm

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The OTF (for JST):
« on: May 14, 2012, 07:30:11 AM »
Hey, JST (and anyone else):

This is something of an open letter, posted this morning in hopes that it reaches one particular theist, but open for all.  It's odd; I've never really bothered to write something like this for this or any other discussion forum, but I feel the imperative to do so after watching the discussion here over the last several weeks.

This community is a fantastic one for atheists - it's filled with good resources, good ears, people who actually give a damn and who try to help those who are atheists (especially new atheists) get by in what feels like a society that is stacked against them.  Unfortunately, this community is absolutely terrible to theists that come in to see what it's all about.  I have my own personal feelings as to why:  the stereotype of the angry atheist has a certain basis in fact (especially among new atheists, who often say they are angry with the loss of time and life predicated in their earlier faith), the joy of debate, the need to validate your own position, and others - but I can't prove any of these things to be true.  I can say only that the pattern here for visiting theists is almost always the same arc.

First, the theist appears and introduces themselves.  The community leaps on them like a herd of starving lions spotting the last gazelle in the Serengeti with a dogpile of arguments that no one could hope to address (no matter their quality).  Invariably, one or two people in the community take more than an adversarial stance, becoming antagonistic.  As the theist defends their position, they are inevitably accused of proselytizing or not addressing argument.  Eventually, they are banned for breaking one or another of the forum rules, and the community seems to quietly smirk about the fact. 

I will be the first to say that most of our theistic visitors, sadly, deserve this sort of treatment.  The come here and are deliberately insulting, deliberately provoking, even hateful in what they say.   However, we tend to project these rather abusive people onto the theists that come here simply ignorant of how often their arguments have been addressed or who come here in an effort to earnestly reach out to people they're trying to understand, but simply cannot (at least so far).  Think how alien atheism is to most believers, how impossible a proposition it is. 

I do think atheism and the atheist movement deserve a place alongside any group of faithful; we must fight for our place in the public square, and we must fight for our identity in a sea of people who would sooner run us out of their communities than trust us around their children.  In discourse, however, we could stand a few lessons in politeness.  It wouldn't take much to understand that the quiet conversation, the one that simply addresses the arguments presented (yes, again) is the one that will appeal to the reasonable watcher, the onlooker, and get them to understand.

(I for one, lurked as a guest for a very long time here before engaging.  The conversations - the real conversations - with theists are what finally allowed me to let go of my faith.  They don't happen anymore, and I think this is a terribly sad thing.)

JST, I write this addressed to you and to other theists especially because, frankly, I want you to understand that there's a point behind a lot of what you're enduring, and I hope to catch you before the invariable march of the theist on this board continues.  I want to try to show you what these guys are essentially saying over and over again:  all a lot of us want is for you to take a moment to see things from our point of view.

Personally, I want you to take what Loftis calls the "outsider test of faith."  I want you to look at Islam and Mormonism, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Bhuddism - whatever you care to choose, really, and seriously define what makes these things impossible or ridiculous to you.  Then, if you can, I'd love to see you take a step back from your own beliefs and subject them to the same scrutiny.  Pretend you are someone who has never heard of the Bible, who lives a comfortable, Western, middle class existence without having even imagined the Christian god.  Would your faith make sense to you? 

When I understood that question-  that's what got to me.  That's what changed things.  I started looking at where the ideas of my belief came from, and eventually realized that there was no divinity in them.  There are hard questions there - and I encourage you to ask them.

Let me quote Socrates:  "Someone will say: Yes, Socrates, but cannot you hold your tongue, and then you may go into a foreign city, and no one will interfere with you? Now I have great difficulty in making you understand my answer to this. For if I tell you that this would be a disobedience to a divine command, and therefore that I cannot hold my tongue, you will not believe that I am serious; and if I say that the greatest good of a man is daily to converse about virtue, and all that concerning which you hear me examining myself and others, and that the life which is unexamined is not worth living — that you are still less likely to believe."

.. the point is that, and perhaps this is the wrong place for it, all I really want in my own atheism is to be accepted as part of the world around me without constantly fighting for my right to exist.  I don't want to be "separate and silent, but equal as long as I keep my mouth shut."  To do that, I know that theists have to understand that the atheist position isn't ridiculous or incomprehensible, and that I wouldn't be out of place having coffee with you at the local waffle hut.

Does this make sense?  I want you, and all other theists, to understand that even in our most heated moments, we are still human, and that we (at least societally) share most of the same values.  Atheists don't go on stealing sprees and we don't eat babies and we don't murder at random.  We read books, we play games, we raise families, we work, and we love - and we largely embrace the humanity that enables us to do just that.

I am an outsider - one who has been (and who was raised) "inside".  To me, your religion is risible - but you are not.  I hope that comes through, and I wish we as a community were better at showing it.  Still, I encourage you to be an outsider in your own life; examine your faith.  Ask why until you get good answers.  You may not become an atheist, but you will at least begin to understand what we are:  the ones who never got answers that made sense from any god.



"But to us, there is but one god, plus or minus one."  - 1 Corinthians 8:6+/-2

-- Randall, XKCD http://xkcd.com/900/

Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 07:52:56 AM »
BM
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" (Christopher Hitchens).

Offline Nick

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 09:35:06 AM »
Gazelle meat is really tender this time of year.  I think a lot has to do with the type of theists we get here and the fact that we have gone thru most of this over and over again.  You just want to slap them out of their delusion.  I know it is not the way to do it but gazelle meat is so tender this time of year.
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Offline kin hell

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 09:45:45 AM »
bm
"...but on a lighter note, demons were driven from a pig today in Gloucester."  Bill Bailey

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Offline Grimm

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 10:00:57 AM »
Gazelle meat is really tender this time of year.  I think a lot has to do with the type of theists we get here and the fact that we have gone thru most of this over and over again.  You just want to slap them out of their delusion.  I know it is not the way to do it but gazelle meat is so tender this time of year.

Randall Munroe (As always) of XKCD points out something far better than I ever could:



This may not be diet coke and mentos - but isn't it more important?
"But to us, there is but one god, plus or minus one."  - 1 Corinthians 8:6+/-2

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Offline Alzael

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 10:07:55 AM »
This may not be diet coke and mentos - but isn't it more important?

That's not entirely acurate however.

The problem isn't that they're hearing it for the first time. The problem is that they're hearing it for the fiftieth time because they weren't listening the other 49.
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Offline Grimm

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 10:27:29 AM »
Alzael -

Doesn't matter.

We keep forgetting - and I'm as guilty of it as anyone - that right at this moment there are a lot more than the person we're talking to looking at the words we post.  Right now, for instance, the top line reads:

Grimm, natlegend, Lucifer, Seppuku, Zankuu, jtk73, Traveler, velkyn, pamindfw, BornAgainAtheist, 12 Monkeys (+ 1 Hidden) and 47 Guests are viewing this board.


for this Gen Discussion forum.  Look at that:  47 guests!  I was one of 'em for a very, very long time - and arguments by screwtape and TBright, you and OldChurchGuy were the things that helped me realize precisely what had happened to my faith, and what it meant.  You may not convince the theist that's talking to you, but you may show something important to the person sitting on the fringes trying to sort out everything else.

The discussion is more important, and more interesting and vital, than just the conversation you're having right now with the theist that was brave (or crazy - we get those too) enough to post.

It may be the same argument we've retreaded thousands of times - but for those 47 guests, it may be completely new.  Before I came here? I'd never heard of the Kalaam Argument - now I understand and can refute it in  my sleep.  Yet, that one's been around for centuries... and it was screwtape that essentially helped me understand both the argument and its flaws.  Where would I have been had I not seen it?
"But to us, there is but one god, plus or minus one."  - 1 Corinthians 8:6+/-2

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Offline Alzael

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 10:35:15 AM »
Alzael -

Doesn't matter.

We keep forgetting - and I'm as guilty of it as anyone - that right at this moment there are a lot more than the person we're talking to looking at the words we post.  Right now, for instance, the top line reads:

Grimm, natlegend, Lucifer, Seppuku, Zankuu, jtk73, Traveler, velkyn, pamindfw, BornAgainAtheist, 12 Monkeys (+ 1 Hidden) and 47 Guests are viewing this board.


for this Gen Discussion forum.  Look at that:  47 guests!  I was one of 'em for a very, very long time - and arguments by screwtape and TBright, you and OldChurchGuy were the things that helped me realize precisely what had happened to my faith, and what it meant.  You may not convince the theist that's talking to you, but you may show something important to the person sitting on the fringes trying to sort out everything else.

The discussion is more important, and more interesting and vital, than just the conversation you're having right now with the theist that was brave (or crazy - we get those too) enough to post.

It may be the same argument we've retreaded thousands of times - but for those 47 guests, it may be completely new.  Before I came here? I'd never heard of the Kalaam Argument - now I understand and can refute it in  my sleep.  Yet, that one's been around for centuries... and it was screwtape that essentially helped me understand both the argument and its flaws.  Where would I have been had I not seen it?

That's not what I was reffering to.

However it's all right since I misunderstood the point you were attempting to make as well.
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Offline Grimm

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 10:45:13 AM »


That's not what I was reffering to.

However it's all right since I misunderstood the point you were attempting to make as well.

HOW DARE YOU MISUNDERSTAND ME!



 ;D
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Offline Omen

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 10:49:13 AM »
I will be the first to say that most of our theistic visitors, sadly, deserve this sort of treatment.  The come here and are deliberately insulting, deliberately provoking, even hateful in what they say.   However, we tend to project these rather abusive people onto the theists that come here simply ignorant of how often their arguments have been addressed or who come here in an effort to earnestly reach out to people they're trying to understand, but simply cannot (at least so far).  Think how alien atheism is to most believers, how impossible a proposition it is.

While the day to day stonewalling is frustrating, what is more insidious in my eyes is the selective nature of how most apologist respond.  I actually think it is condescending to believe that all theists are stupid and I prefer to give them more credit than they probably deserve.  This may actually fuel my anger more when it is noticeable when that behavior is obvious such as in cases where a theists responds by tip toeing around critical issues, selectively omits parts of a post with pertinent questions, or chooses to respond the lowest common denominator in the post.  To me, regardless if that behavior is subconscious or conscious, we must call it out and demand an explanation.  It happens too frequently to just dismiss it away as us being 'too aggressive' or the theist simply being an idiot.
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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2012, 11:00:23 AM »
I will be the first to say that most of our theistic visitors, sadly, deserve this sort of treatment.  The come here and are deliberately insulting, deliberately provoking, even hateful in what they say.   However, we tend to project these rather abusive people onto the theists that come here simply ignorant of how often their arguments have been addressed or who come here in an effort to earnestly reach out to people they're trying to understand, but simply cannot (at least so far).  Think how alien atheism is to most believers, how impossible a proposition it is.

While the day to day stonewalling is frustrating, what is more insidious in my eyes is the selective nature of how most apologist respond.  I actually think it is condescending to believe that all theists are stupid and I prefer to give them more credit than they probably deserve.  This may actually fuel my anger more when it is noticeable when that behavior is obvious such as in cases where a theists responds by tip toeing around critical issues, selectively omits parts of a post with pertinent questions, or chooses to respond the lowest common denominator in the post.  To me, regardless if that behavior is subconscious or conscious, we must call it out and demand an explanation.  It happens too frequently to just dismiss it away as us being 'too aggressive' or the theist simply being an idiot.

Yeah mate I can forgive the dumb, or the true believer who is honest, but the slippery obfuscaters and twisting liars are intolerable
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 03:01:36 PM »
Personally, I am not out to change theists' point of view so much as to teach them to think for themselves. We really have no way of knowing just how many theists have changed their minds as a result of the discussions in this forum except for the few who come back and tell us about it. Even if they are not convinced right away, I think what we are providing here may well have had positive results that have gone unnoticed.

While sometimes I am guilty of flaming a theist out of irritation at their persistent insistence on making assertions without backing them up with any sort of tangible evidence, I always try to keep my temper at bay as well as possible, because making someone feel angry and insulted will simply turn them away more often than not rather than stimulating critical thinking. My goal is to toss the opportunity out there for people to get free from the entrappings of religion. What they do with it is then up to them.
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" (Christopher Hitchens).

Offline Alzael

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 03:09:00 PM »

While the day to day stonewalling is frustrating, what is more insidious in my eyes is the selective nature of how most apologist respond.  I actually think it is condescending to believe that all theists are stupid and I prefer to give them more credit than they probably deserve.  This may actually fuel my anger more when it is noticeable when that behavior is obvious such as in cases where a theists responds by tip toeing around critical issues, selectively omits parts of a post with pertinent questions, or chooses to respond the lowest common denominator in the post.  To me, regardless if that behavior is subconscious or conscious, we must call it out and demand an explanation.  It happens too frequently to just dismiss it away as us being 'too aggressive' or the theist simply being an idiot.

Agreed. I can tolerate stupidity and genuine ignorance. It's the liars and the willfully ignorant I have a problem with.
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2012, 03:31:15 PM »
Well I don't know what to think.  It seems to me I was prejudged before I even had much to say.  And I have not heard your arguments over and over as you may have heard mine although looking at some Christian forums it seem they share the same problem only it's from the other side of the fence.  I used to have a best friend, the only one I've ever had, and he was an atheist.  I have a friend now that was a Satanist and a witch when we first met.  No, I didn't change his ways.  He was already on the way out when we met.  But we have become good friends.  I have never been one to judge a book by it's cover.  Truthfully most of my friends have always been what most people would describe as "weird".  Not like today's weird but like yesterdays weird.

However this is the first time I've ever been exposed to the "lack of beliefs" of atheism.  I have made some ignorant statements since I've been here.  But overall I think I have tried to educate myself and I have learned some things where I am able to focus on content and not delivery.  I still have not passed any judgements on atheism.  If I were to do so based on what I've seen here then it probably wouldn't turn out too well for atheism.  It seems some are just like the Christians they point fingers at.

Quote from: Grimm
.. the point is that, and perhaps this is the wrong place for it, all I really want in my own atheism is to be accepted as part of the world around me without constantly fighting for my right to exist.  I don't want to be "separate and silent, but equal as long as I keep my mouth shut." 

This is exactly what I want.  Now that's not why I came here but that's for another story.  I don't harbor any ill feelings toward atheists.  I feel they've been mislead.  And this is probably how the atheist views me.  But I don't see why this must be a chasm that cannot be crossed.  But I do have a hard time understanding how the world looks at you because I think they look at Christians the same way.  I mean it's not "cool" to be Christian.  I know this seems  illogical since so many claim to be Christian but in my experience it's still true. 

If I were to meet an atheist outside of this forum I would treat him with the same respect I do anybody else.  While I'm sure I would question him some, I would not debate with him like I do here.  And if he didn't want to talk about it at all then I'd abide by his wishes.  I could still get along with the atheist, and maybe even be friends, just as well as anybody else.  I just don't want an atheist teaching my children and I'm sure atheists feel the same about theists.

You personally sound like a good guy and I can respect that.  You and I could probably discuss the topics at hand in a civil manner and be fine with each other afterward.  But there are Christians that are not like that I'm sure.  But also there are atheists that are not like you seem to be.  I think perhaps some, maybe even the majority, give all the others a bad name.

One problem I think I have that atheists seem to be not completely in agreement with each other, which should be expected I guess.  It seems some of you just lack evidence to believe.  However, there seems to be some that not only believe there is no god but insist there cannot be a god.  And when you are talking to a mixed group of these it's hard to distinguish the two.  With some people I can say something and it's accepted and vice verse.  However with some I must literally prove every sentence I speak.  I mean if I said the sky is blue, I'd need to attach a picture.  This is very frustrating to me.

I'm sure you read the thread where the moderator got involved and I was forced to support my claims with scriptures.  And perhaps I deserved it, although with most they already know the scripture to which I am referring and I don't need to quote it.  When I have to I get frustrated but that's my problem.  However my opponent had many unsupported claims and these were completely left out.  If anyone wants evidence they can examine the thread for themselves.  I don't think I was fairly treated.  But I can take it.  I think it's just human nature to be that way, whether you are theist or atheist.

It seems I am able to have fine conversations with everyone here but one or two or maybe three.  Is this evidence of anything?  Apparently the mods do not think so or do not even notice, although some members, such as yourself, seem to notice this.

However I will say this.  You all say the burden of proof is on the theist.  Assuming you are not one that insists there can be no god then you are right.  However, that is not the end of the matter.  You say you have a better way.  Now the burden of proof is on you.  You say Christian justice is bad?  Then show me yours is better.  You think Christians are arrogant and condescending?  Then show me you are not.  From my point of view you talk the talk, but like the Christians you point your fingers at, you don't walk the walk.

But it has not been a total loss.  I have met some really nice people and I have learned a lot.  Understanding comes from knowledge.

Quote
Personally, I want you to take what Loftis calls the "outsider test of faith."  I want you to look at Islam and Mormonism, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Bhuddism - whatever you care to choose, really, and seriously define what makes these things impossible or ridiculous to you.  Then, if you can, I'd love to see you take a step back from your own beliefs and subject them to the same scrutiny.  Pretend you are someone who has never heard of the Bible, who lives a comfortable, Western, middle class existence without having even imagined the Christian god.  Would your faith make sense to you? 

Whew.  It's been twenty years since I did any studying in other religions.  I don't even remember the reason I rejected them except that most seemed more like fairy tail than the Bible ever thought of being.



Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2012, 04:03:00 PM »
Jst how does anyone who does not believe in Jesus,66% of the planet deserve eternal punishment. Some have other religous beliefs,and some do not see any evidence for BibleGod or Jesus  outside of a few fairy-tale books written very poorly by ignorant,sexist,homophobic sheep herders 2000 years ago
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2012, 04:04:56 PM »
...I just don't want an atheist teaching my children and I'm sure atheists feel the same about theists....

I'm not sure if you meant this the way I'm reading it, but I don't mind theists teaching my children (if I had any). I would strongly mind if they taught their religion to my children as truth, but they can teach math, science, art, music, or religion as a concept (as opposed to as the one and only truth), and whatever else. I have no problem with that at all.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2012, 04:23:48 PM »
...I just don't want an atheist teaching my children and I'm sure atheists feel the same about theists....

I'm reminded of this.



In other words Jst doesn't want his children taught by anyone who might give them an opinion based on facts, or that differs from theirs. Because god (if you'll pardon the expression) forgive they be exposed to new ideas and make their own decisions. He wants them to stay like their father. Ignorant to the point of even being unable to even understand what it means to provide evidence for a claim.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 04:28:32 PM by Alzael »
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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2012, 04:26:52 PM »
...I just don't want an atheist teaching my children and I'm sure atheists feel the same about theists....

I'm not sure if you meant this the way I'm reading it, but I don't mind theists teaching my children (if I had any). I would strongly mind if they taught their religion to my children as truth, but they can teach math, science, art, music, or religion as a concept (as opposed to as the one and only truth), and whatever else. I have no problem with that at all.

Yes this is what I meant.  And don't get me wrong.  I don't want schools teaching my children religion either.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2012, 04:33:58 PM »
...I just don't want an atheist teaching my children and I'm sure atheists feel the same about theists....

I'm reminded of this.



In other words Jst doesn't want his children taught by anyone who might give them an opinion based on facts, or that differs from theirs. Because god (if you'll pardon the expression) forgive they be exposed to new ideas and make their own decisions. He wants them to stay like their father. Ignorant to the point of even being unable to even understand what it means to provide evidence for a claim.

I guess Traveler is the only one willing to give me the benefit of the doubt before acting like a child.  I wonder why he is not the moderator instead.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2012, 04:43:09 PM »
Well I don't know what to think.  It seems to me I was prejudged before I even had much to say. 

An unfortunate biproduct, I think, of the fact that, more often than not, in our discussions, theists have simply thrown their views out there without providing any basis for them whatsoever. That does not make it ok, but I think that is the reason for some of that. I personally try very hard to reserve judgment on a person until I have heard them out to some degree. We accomplish nothing by running people off by making them feel angry and insulted when they first get here. Those folks may never look at atheism again.

I have never been one to judge a book by it's cover.

A good policy to have.

However this is the first time I've ever been exposed to the "lack of beliefs" of atheism.  I have made some ignorant statements since I've been here.  But overall I think I have tried to educate myself and I have learned some things where I am able to focus on content and not delivery.  I still have not passed any judgements on atheism.  If I were to do so based on what I've seen here then it probably wouldn't turn out too well for atheism.  It seems some are just like the Christians they point fingers at.

I would suggest looking at some of the scientific arguments for atheism - based on the geological and biological records as well as the works of people like Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking. The real and tangible supporting evidence is in those fields. Philosophical arguments, while they may be convincing, do not have the substance that empirical and methodological research yield. For example, did you know that the giraffe has a nerve in its neck that runs all the way down to its chest and then finally back up to its destination - the larynx, making no stops in between? It would seem that no intelligent designer would design such an inefficient system.

I could still get along with the atheist, and maybe even be friends, just as well as anybody else.  I just don't want an atheist teaching my children and I'm sure atheists feel the same about theists.

I wouldn't mind a theist teaching my children (if I had them), as long as he or she was not trying to pour biblical creationism down their throat in a science class. Whether theists like it or not, the theory of evolution is backed by all kinds of evidence; all the creation "science" people have is the fact that life "looks" designed. They often present the "watchmaker" analogy that when one sees a watch on the beach, he or she knows that it is designed and does not have to question it. The problem is, the watchmaker probably had a few hours to make the watch; life has had 4.5 billion years to evolve. A lot can happen through random mutations and natural selection in 4.5 billion years.

One problem I think I have that atheists seem to be not completely in agreement with each other, which should be expected I guess.

Par for the course in any group of individuals. No group of individuals agrees 100% on everything.

It seems some of you just lack evidence to believe.  However, there seems to be some that not only believe there is no god but insist there cannot be a god.

I do not understand that point of view either. While I do not believe that there is a god, I do not pretend to know conclusively that there is no god. In my opinion, the evidence with which I have been presented simply supports atheism more than theism. When a person says that they know that there is no god, they are basically making a positive assertion, just like the theists, which then places the burden of proof squarely on them just as much as on the theists.

However with some I must literally prove every sentence I speak.  I mean if I said the sky is blue, I'd need to attach a picture.  This is very frustrating to me.

It depends. I think when you make a statement like "God does this" or "God does that." Or "God exists." Or some other such statement. Then, yes, I think it should be backed up with evidence. If you make a statement like "Christianity has been beneficial to me as an individual," there might be less need to back it up, because, for one thing, that statement is very subjective and there really is no way to back it up with any kind of evidence that anyone else can verify. I would advise avoiding such statements on an atheist forum, however, because our personal experience is obviously not the same as your own. Otherwise, we might have come to the same conclusions you have.

I'm sure you read the thread where the moderator got involved and I was forced to support my claims with scriptures.

Actually your claims should be supported with evidence outside of scripture. It's ok to quote scriptures, just back the quotes up with some kind of outside evidence - quotes from secular, historical documentation, quotes from science literature, quotes from philosophers, etc. Because the Bible is the very thing you are trying to prove right, arguing from scripture is not very convincing.


However I will say this.  You all say the burden of proof is on the theist.  Assuming you are not one that insists there can be no god then you are right.  However, that is not the end of the matter.  You say you have a better way.  Now the burden of proof is on you.  You say Christian justice is bad?  Then show me yours is better.  You think Christians are arrogant and condescending?  Then show me you are not.  From my point of view you talk the talk, but like the Christians you point your fingers at, you don't walk the walk.

I wouldn't so much say that Christian justice is bad, at least not in the way modern Christians perceive it, which is usually not consistent with the Bible. However, as you and I both agreed, it often can, and has, lead to all kinds of attrocities throughout history, committed by those who blindly follow an alleged supreme being with unwavering loyalty. There comes a time when every person should question their belief system. Those who do not are likely to fall for anything that gets thrown at them.




Thanks for joining us....
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" (Christopher Hitchens).

Offline HAL

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2012, 04:46:32 PM »
However I will say this.  You all say the burden of proof is on the theist.  Assuming you are not one that insists there can be no god then you are right.

Right but ...

Quote
However, that is not the end of the matter.  You say you have a better way.  Now the burden of proof is on you.  You say Christian justice is bad?  Then show me yours is better.  You think Christians are arrogant and condescending?  Then show me you are not.  From my point of view you talk the talk, but like the Christians you point your fingers at, you don't walk the walk.

No. You must still not understand.

Atheism has nothing to do with the other things you were mentioning - justice or the way people act towards one another or anything else. It just means a disbelief in a god or gods. That's all. As far as value systems related to other things, you'll get different opinions because, like I said, atheism has not a thing to do with them and they are subjective (like morality).

We have a long way to go with you still.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 04:56:12 PM by HAL »

Offline Alzael

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2012, 04:47:24 PM »

I guess Traveler is the only one willing to give me the benefit of the doubt before acting like a child.  I wonder why he is not the moderator instead.

You were given the benefit of the doubt in the beginning when you first joined, remember? You lied and misrepresented yourself about evolution. So far you haven't improved much.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 04:49:01 PM by Alzael »
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Offline Omen

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2012, 04:47:59 PM »
It seems I am able to have fine conversations with everyone here but one or two or maybe three.  Is this evidence of anything?  Apparently the mods do not think so or do not even notice, although some members, such as yourself, seem to notice this.

The only thing that has occurred is that people like me have demanded that you support the claims that you make.  Again, your complete disregard for intellectual responsibility carries on, in your total and utter ignorance ( or more accurately denial ) of your own behavior.

So far, all you want is a one sided discussion, where you don't have to be responsible for anything you do make up at random and can declare it from nothing more than your own authority ( via argument from authority fallacy ).  You've done nothing but whine and complain every time you're pigeon holed into supporting your own claims, how dare you project your inexcusable dishonesty on others.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2012, 04:52:41 PM »
However with some I must literally prove every sentence I speak.  I mean if I said the sky is blue, I'd need to attach a picture.  This is very frustrating to me.


Not every sentence. Just the claims you make. Especially the supernatural ones. You want to claim all sorts of things about how the world works and use them in your arguments for your opinions. But when it comes up that you are asked to show how what you say is true all you have is silence.

The rules of the forum themselves state that you have to back up the claims that you make. Don't act surprised when you're called on to actually follow them.

I've asked you this before,Jst? What is so hard about understanding something as simple as backing up your claims? If you ask and try honestly to understand, I'll help you. If you dodge and lie, then you're just showing me you're not worth anything but mockery. It's up to you.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 04:54:29 PM by Alzael »
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

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Philip of Macedon: (via messenger) If we enter Sparta, we will raze all your buildings and ravage all your women.
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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2012, 05:06:01 PM »
Well I just happened to be browsing this thread and came to a conclusion.

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,22621.0.html

I must literaly be in the company of a lot of children.  This would explain a lot about my experience here.

Quote from: godlessheathen
I would suggest looking at some of the scientific arguments for atheism - based on the geological and biological records as well as the works of people like Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking.

I don't have a problem with science.  I love science.  But I don't see why science and God are mutually exclusive as some seem to think.  Rather than weakening my faith in God, science actually strengthens it.

Quote
Actually your claims should be supported with evidence outside of scripture.

Before I can provide any evidence that the Bible is true I must first establish what the Bible says.

And while on Wiki I learned something.  Jehovah's Witnesses are known as restorationists.  Learning what this means may help show you my world view.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorationism_(Christian_primitivism)
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2012, 05:09:43 PM »
Quote from: alzael
What is so hard about understanding something as simple as backing up your claims?

Nothing.  But it does seem to me you have a double standard.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2012, 05:10:17 PM »
And while on Wiki I learned something.  Jehovah's Witnesses are known as restorationists.  Learning what this means may help show you my world view.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorationism_(Christian_primitivism)

I also used to belong to a group that could be defined as "restorationist" - Apostolic Oneness Pentecostal. There are other groups that would be considered restorationist: Church of Christ, Mormon, etc. Trouble is, there is that nagging possibility that the original system is also flawed. Even the restorationist groups do not agree on what constitutes "original Christianity."
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" (Christopher Hitchens).

Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2012, 05:12:38 PM »
I don't know anything about those others except Mormonism.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline Omen

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Re: The OTF (for JST):
« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2012, 05:12:44 PM »
Well I just happened to be browsing this thread and came to a conclusion.

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,22621.0.html

I must literaly be in the company of a lot of children.  This would explain a lot about my experience here.

So, we're moving on to insulting people on the forum without explanation.

Quote
Quote from: godlessheathen
I would suggest looking at some of the scientific arguments for atheism - based on the geological and biological records as well as the works of people like Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking.

I don't have a problem with science.

Your arguments say otherwise.  You began a thread, supposedly arguing for your beliefs, by repeating the typical anti-science creationist nonsense.  You were describing these positions as if they were already a polemical dichotomy, which contradicts your next claim:

Quote
I love science.  But I don't see why science and God are mutually exclusive as some seem to think.  Rather than weakening my faith in God, science actually strengthens it.

Building up to incredulously dismiss 'evolution' isn't a 'love' of science.

Quote
Quote
Actually your claims should be supported with evidence outside of scripture.

Before I can provide any evidence that the Bible is true I must first establish what the Bible says.

Actually, evidence that the bible is true outside of the rhetoric itself is more important.  I have a childs book on green eggs and ham, no matter how many times you establish that it is talking about green eggs and ham, that doesn't change the fact that there isn't green eggs and ham in reality.  The inverse isn't true, there could be green eggs and ham in reality.  Just like a biblical claim could be true, with or without the bible to make it.  All we need is the evidence and argument to support it.

Which you have abandoned in every case.

Quote
And while on Wiki I learned something.  Jehovah's Witnesses are known as restorationists.  Learning what this means may help show you my world view.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorationism_(Christian_primitivism)

They are no different from other christian sects, they rationalize towards a presupposed notion of what their ideology should be about.  All christian sects practice the same kind of religious apologetics and you haven't presented anything different yet.
"Religious faith is the antithesis to knowledge, it is the opposition to education, and it has to act in animosity against the free exchange of ideas.  Why? Because those things are what cause harm to a religions place in society most." - Me