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Faith no more as World Youth Day fans flames of disbelief - Comments

F_A_F's Avatar Comment 1 by F_A_F

Even after the slightly pandering tone of this article, it's nice to see that some people see atheism as "accepting the facts" instead of just "bible-basher-bashing"....

It's a commonly held misbelief that us atheists want to eradicate religion. Well as nice as it would be to get rid of it once and for all, I for one will not be going round forcing people to change their minds.....they need to change them because they want to change. Articles like this at least show that there is a change happening across the world, and hopefully as more come to understand what atheism is REALLY about, then they will come join the party :)

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 08:22:00 UTC | #180276

AmericanGodless's Avatar Comment 2 by AmericanGodless

So, is this guy serious, or is he writing tongue-in-cheek? I'm really not sure, but I suspect that he is proud of his boys.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 08:55:00 UTC | #180288

Barry Pearson's Avatar Comment 3 by Barry Pearson

I have long believed that most of the benefit from "The God Delusion" (etc) will be on the next generation rather than older people. For example:
http://www.richarddawkins.net/articleComments,2294,Over-half-of-Britons-claim-no-religion,Times-Online,page1#131382

This article suggests that is happening. Every day, I have a look at YouTube to see what has just been published there about Richard Dawkins and atheism.
http://youtube.com/results?search_query=atheism&search_sort=video_date_uploaded
http://youtube.com/results?search_query=dawkins&search_sort=video_date_uploaded

While most of the material comprises extracts from longer broadcasts, and some is from religious people attacking atheism, many of the "original to YouTube" videos are by young people, confidently talking about their atheism and their criticism of religions. These people will probably grow up to be thorns in the flesh of religious people for the rest of their lives. They understand the topics, they are have their views of the sorts of soceities they want, and they see no reason for respect for religion or inhibition about discussing it frankly.

Religious people can't make the public debate go away. Massive changes will take generations, but they WILL happen. If they worry about today's "new atheists" - they ain't seen nothing yet!

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 08:58:00 UTC | #180291

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 4 by thewhitepearl

"it weaseled its way into the boys' hearts and became their dog-eared bible"

My copy is full of highlighted notes of interest. Not just one color either. Pink, yellow, green, blue, purple...

"Mainstream churches, it seemed to me, saved their firepower not to challenge poverty and inequality but to oppress homosexuals and women."

Reminds me of Katie Couric's report on Kenneth Copeland...An 18,000 square foot house and a personal jet (just to begin with.) His son justifies it by claiming they need that personal lavish lifestyle to spread the gospel.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:15:00 UTC | #180297

riki's Avatar Comment 5 by riki

I think a large proportion of Australians would tick the Christian box on a census. But I think for the average Aussie that means about as much as a Christmas card and a few Easter Eggs.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:26:00 UTC | #180304

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 6 by moderndaythomas

God did not seem interested in stopping wars or hunger; only people could do that. Mainstream churches, it seemed to me, saved their firepower not to challenge poverty and inequality but to oppress homosexuals and women.


Bin there, still there, couldn't have said it better.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:28:00 UTC | #180307

passutoba's Avatar Comment 7 by passutoba

'uncertain science'? Which part of TGD is he referring to here?

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:28:00 UTC | #180309

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 8 by Steve Zara

Religion will come under the kind of scrutiny over the next month I wish it could be spared.


What an strange statement. Religions have attempted to put our lives under scrutiny for millenia. Surely this is only fair?

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:32:00 UTC | #180311

FightingFalcon's Avatar Comment 9 by FightingFalcon


It's a commonly held misbelief that us atheists want to eradicate religion.


Careful - a significant population of RD.net wants to do just that.

I personally do not, because I believe religion goes much deeper than many people will admit and it does a necessary role in keeping society together.

But there most certainly are Atheists (some on this very site) who want nothing more than the complete eradication of religion.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:39:00 UTC | #180316

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 10 by moderndaythomas

Steve Zara

Surely this is only fair?


And necessary. Casting doubt on evolution while all together side stepping the same medicine is cowardly and a clear indicator of zero rules of engagement.
It should not be equal time in science classrooms but time proportional to evidence.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:40:00 UTC | #180317

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 11 by huzonfurst

Who says atheists don't want to eradicate religion? Of course we do, just not by mass murder or other coercive means. Removing tax advantages for churches is one, non-coercive step that is long overdue (and after that, perhaps the imposition of an "ignorance tax" to compensate society for the effects of religious "education" and indoctrination).

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:44:00 UTC | #180319

FightingFalcon's Avatar Comment 12 by FightingFalcon


Who says atheists don't want to eradicate religion? Of course we do, just not by mass murder or other coercive means. Removing tax advantages for churches is one, non-coercive step that is long overdue (and after that, perhaps the imposition of an "ignorance tax" to compensate society for the effects of religious "education" and indoctrination).


I don't. I would be perfectly content with a society that has religion completely removed from it publicly but continues to have members that believe privately, go to church, etc.

My only problem with religion is when it sticks its head into the public sector. Other than that, what do I care what people believe in their own homes? Worship Mithras for all I care...

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:47:00 UTC | #180321

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 13 by moderndaythomas

thewhitepearl

Reminds me of Katie Couric's report on Kenneth Copeland...An 18,000 square foot house and a personal jet (just to begin with.) His son justifies it by claiming they need that personal lavish lifestyle to spread the gospel.


If evolutionists could only organise like this. I'm willing to claim that I need a nice 45 foot Halberg-Rassy to circumnavigate the globe spreading the word of Darwin.
Any backers?
No?


Damn!

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:49:00 UTC | #180322

dantemm's Avatar Comment 14 by dantemm

Ah, I thought it was gonna be about the Mike Patton band, FAITH NO MORE... :-)

~Dan
http://jazzsick.wordpress.com/

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:51:00 UTC | #180324

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 15 by Border Collie

"dubious grasp of theology"?! What?! I have a fantastic grasp of theology. I was raised as a screamer Southern Baptist fundamentalist and have read widely in Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism
and fairly widely in basic Western and Eastern mythologies. Sorry, but I think RD has a very good grasp of theology in that he's sees it with clearer eyes than any theologian can. I probably have a pretty poor grasp of fairyology, but so what? I did see the movie "Photographing Faries", however and thought it was pretty cute.

"It is important not to cause offence, when so many people believe ..." Pardon me? It seems that is when it's exactly the time to "cause offence". For myself, if I'm skewing off in some idiotic direction (which I probably do on a fairly regular basis), I want someone to "offend" me by pointing it out to me. If I was afraid to "offend" my karate students by putting a bruise on their ribs once in a while, they wouldn't really know how to defend themselves in a life/death situation. So, hey, if truth offends, so be it.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:54:00 UTC | #180327

riki's Avatar Comment 16 by riki

Technology is also forcing kids to think more critically and methodically.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 09:56:00 UTC | #180329

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 17 by mordacious1

We need to keep the religious around, what would comedy be without them? If I need a laugh, I turn on the 700 Club, it's a side-splitter. Sobering though when you realize how many people believe this nonsense and what harm they do.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 10:01:00 UTC | #180331

Logicel's Avatar Comment 18 by Logicel

This author is conflating intolerance with criticism, and tolerance with respect. I support wholeheartedly the right of people to believe privately whatever they want (keeping non-evidence beliefs out of the public sector), but many of those beliefs I will not respect and will subject to scathing criticism if they are brought out into the public sphere.

If Religion becomes a private matter for consenting adults, I would guess that many posters here who think they want to eradicate it, probably would change their minds. However, such driving forces in keeping Religion alive as indoctrination of children, the pushing of their so-called moral monopoly, special tax treatment, etc., are the reasons why many atheists see the vision of Religion being confined to consenting adults in their private lives as an impossibility. And if Religion ever morphs into that hoped-for state, it will barely be recognizable from its present pushy, meddling, and obnoxious self.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 10:04:00 UTC | #180332

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 19 by huzonfurst

Fighting Falcon, I used to agree with tolerating the private practice of religion, but I got over it. A person's beliefs don't leave him when he walks out of church: they influence everything s/he does in all walks of life.

We have such a long way to go in the US to counteract religious foolishness that we still legally allow believers to commit crimes in the name of their religion - the ones who withhold medical treatment from their own children being the worst example.

This kind of valueless tolerance is wrong and immoral, or do you disagree, and why?

I'm firmly in Dawkins' corner, the part where he states that religion must be challenged at every turn, with the eventual goal of still allowing it to exist (sigh) but reducing its status to just another bit of brainless nonsense like astrology and other newage excreta.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 10:07:00 UTC | #180335

SharonMcT's Avatar Comment 20 by SharonMcT

Logicel:

However, such driving forces in keeping Religion alive as indoctrination of children, the pushing of their so-called moral monopoly, special tax treatment, etc. are the reasons why many atheists see the vision of Religion being confined to consenting adults in their private lives as an impossibility.


Excellent points, as usual. ;)

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 10:08:00 UTC | #180336

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 21 by mordacious1

People are free to believe what they want, it becomes a problem when they become President or get on the Supreme Court and talk to god before making decisions.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 10:13:00 UTC | #180338

SeekingTruth9's Avatar Comment 22 by SeekingTruth9

I have been involved with an interfaith youth group that specifically includes atheists and agnostics. There is no attempt to reach common agreement on beliefs, that's impossible, and not the point. The youth work together where their values overlap, i.e. environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation, human service, etc... The youth get to know each other "as people" not as labels. These activities show that these values are "human" values. The participants learn respect for each other and eliminate some of their prejudices. There often is a significant bias in our culture against atheists/agnostics, and young people learn that they are also good, moral people and form friendships across faith (and no faith) lines.
When I read this article which indicated contempt was growing, it reminded me of the importance of this work. We don't have to agree on belief/no belief and we can still find respect and friendship.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 10:26:00 UTC | #180342

AoClay's Avatar Comment 23 by AoClay

I sometimes wonder if tax exemption is the price you pay for the church/state separation. I hope we tax them one day, surely. I'm just afraid it will let them say they are now tax payers and should be able to get their crap elsewhere.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 10:28:00 UTC | #180344

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 24 by moderndaythomas

SeekingTruth9

The youth work together where their values overlap, i.e. environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation, human service, etc...


How do you discuss environmental sustainability without approaching the topic of selection. Or the preservation of other resources such as fisheries.
In this case nature has selected a larger size fish only to have humans favour them over quicker maturing and smaller fish.
This applies also to the hunting of, say, the big horned Sheep.
In the forestry sector, you see the spacing of non-conifer only to have a particular species (pine) threatened by the pine beetle.
Whaling has reduced the numbers of these amazing mammals and through the increase of military and commercial traffic, they can no longer communicate between pods. Where once they could keep in touch over many thousands of kilometers, now a few hundred is all they can muster.

We are introducing species of animal into an environment that did not favour them prior to our existence. And to understand this; to acknowledge it, is paramount to the pursuit of a solution.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 10:49:00 UTC | #180350

epeeist's Avatar Comment 26 by epeeist

Comment #189834 by moderndaythomas

f evolutionists could only organise like this. I'm willing to claim that I need a nice 45 foot Halberg-Rassy to circumnavigate the globe spreading the word of Darwin.
I might give you a ride on my Swan-Nautor when my acolytes grace me with one.

In the mean while, here is a picture with me on a smaller Halberg-Rassy in the Baltic. Plus some others with me having to work hard to compensate for the crews I had - http://www.flickr.com/photos/10983076@N08/sets/72157605487930517/ ;-)

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 10:54:00 UTC | #180356

eh-theist's Avatar Comment 25 by eh-theist

SeekingTruth9 - I do appreciate the idea that you are working together to achieve common goals. I do, however, think that, in the interest of reason, there are times when a person must say "You are a demented fuckwit!"(Thanks PZ)

Those same people will vote with their church and work to oppress future generations.

Religion is not interested in staying a "private" matter in peoples' homes - the goal should always be to confront such foolishness at every opportunity.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 10:54:00 UTC | #180355

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 27 by moderndaythomas

epeeist

I'm an able hand, though somewhat lacking in the skipper department. One day though.
I've seen many pictures of Baltic sailing, is the weather good out there for it?

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 11:06:00 UTC | #180359

SharonMcT's Avatar Comment 28 by SharonMcT

epeeist:

You have to be good to be lucky. Judging from the photos, you are a lucky man. :)

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 11:07:00 UTC | #180360

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 29 by Cartomancer

This is one of the most strident "belief in belief" rants from the "I'm an atheist but" crowd that I have read in a long while. As has been said previously, it conflates disdain with intolerance and lack of respect for a belief with lack of respect for a person. I should also add my voice to those decrying his description of Richard's tone, grasp of theology and, amazingly, grasp of science. As one who studies medieval theology as a part of my doctoral research, I have found no instance in which Richard either misrepresents a theological point, or would benefit in making his points from greater knowledge of one. Theology as narrowly defined is medieval fan fiction plain and simple.

I think that the more disdain for religion exhibited by the young, the better our societies will be. The battle we are fighting is to knock religion off its pedestal and strip it of the automatic deference it assumes it is entitled to from believer and nonbeliever alike. Disdain is the perfect, perhaps the only, weapon we have to do this.

I do think there is a wider generational thing going on here though. In fact I recognise it from my own experiences. The older, parental, generations of atheists from the 60's, 70's and 80's seem much more imbued with the idea that tolerance trumps everything and raising one's voice in strong opinion only leads to trouble. Perhaps this is the inevitable conservatisation of the elderly, or perhaps it reflects a certain disillusioned former idealism - they are, after all, the people who saw the final nails in the coffin of marxism, the flowering of capitalistic exploitation and, in Britain at least, the political ravages of she-who-shall-not-be-named. I am sure an historian of late twentieth century culture would be able to speculate more effectively than I.

The younger generations of atheists who grew up in the eighties, nineties and the new millennium however have their idealism intact, or their minds unskewed by the experiences of their parents. Their first experiences of major global fear are 9/11 and Islamic terrorism, not the cold war and the cuban missile crisis. Their experiences of "authentic" religion are not jolly bumbling old anglican vicars but vicious frothing imams and loathesome televangelists. I think they probably see the truer picture.

As I say, I have experienced this myself. My own father treats me in much the same way as the author of this article treats his children whenever my fervent disdain of the religious comes into the conversation (and at 24 years of age that does feel rather patronising!). Perhaps an awful lot more of these people remember what they were told as children by their atheistic parents, in a time when society was much more overtly religious. Perhaps many more of them had religious parents.

Is there some kind of atheist generation gap? Do strongly-held opinions in one's children always seem suspect to their parents? It would be an interesting sociological study to carry out...

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 11:10:00 UTC | #180361

FightingFalcon's Avatar Comment 30 by FightingFalcon

Huzon -


I used to agree with tolerating the private practice of religion, but I got over it. A person's beliefs don't leave him when he walks out of church: they influence everything s/he does in all walks of life.


Yes, which is why I try (although not very hard) to convince people to abandon religion. I am most concerned about religion influencing the public sector. I have friends, however, who are religious but you wouldn't know it unless you were very close to them. They keep to themselves and practice as they see fit. I have no problem with this. I think we antagonize more people than we convert when we attempt to literally regulate their thoughts.




We have such a long way to go in the US to counteract religious foolishness that we still legally allow believers to commit crimes in the name of their religion - the ones who withhold medical treatment from their own children being the worst example.


This is really the only example I see. I will never, not in a million years, agree to altering in any way the 1st Amendment. As much as I disdain religion, it is the right of everyone to worship as he or she sees fit. Yes, denying child care because of religion should be a crime. Denying child care for any other reason is a crime so why not religion? On this point I agree with you because it affects the health and safety of another person. Normally, private religious beliefs do not and therefore we have no right to challenge them. Keep in mind, I'm talking about private beliefs. When Theists stick their heads into the public sector (e.g. ID in schools, banning stem cell research, abstinence-only sex ed, etc.) then we should go after them with great fury.



I'm firmly in Dawkins' corner, the part where he states that religion must be challenged at every turn, with the eventual goal of still allowing it to exist (sigh) but reducing its status to just another bit of brainless nonsense like astrology and other newage excreta.


My goal is to remove it from society and (I doubt I'll live to see this one) get rid of its preferential treatment in society. It annoys me that Atheists are the most distrusted group in the country when Theists commit all types of crimes. This is more of a societal problem, however, and it may never change.


I sometimes wonder if tax exemption is the price you pay for the church/state separation. I hope we tax them one day, surely. I'm just afraid it will let them say they are now tax payers and should be able to get their crap elsewhere.


This is precisely why I don't get too upset over tax exempt status, although it does annoy me that it seems to be given out to any religion, regardless of merit.

If we deny religious organizations tax-exempt status, they technically could challenge our separation of church and state on the grounds that they are giving the government money. Now, we all know that religious organizations indirectly (and directly sometimes) influence government but if that tax-exempt status is removed, they may be able to legally challenge the wall between church and state.

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 11:12:00 UTC | #180362