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← The faithful must learn to respect those who question their beliefs

The faithful must learn to respect those who question their beliefs - Comments

sbooder's Avatar Comment 1 by sbooder

Is this the god that is not even honest enough to show himself?

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 10:33:55 UTC | #915566

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 2 by AtheistEgbert

I think we should know by now that religious belief is not the same as a propositional statement that is held to be true based on reason or evidence. Religious belief is the same as faith--an irrational trust in the authority of someone or something else.

Hence, it is not surprising that the religious distrust everything that opposes what they do trust, because they have 'faith' to begin with.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 11:05:15 UTC | #915568

MrPickwick's Avatar Comment 3 by MrPickwick

"By LAWRENCE KRASS - THE GUARDIAN" :-)

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 11:11:13 UTC | #915569

sunbeamforjeebus's Avatar Comment 4 by sunbeamforjeebus

Fear simple fear! If the religious did not fear inquiry they would not need faith, results would do!

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 11:26:12 UTC | #915572

Moderator's Avatar Comment 5 by Moderator

Mr Pickwick - Ooops, how very embarrassing. Now fixed - thanks for alerting us!

The Mods

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 11:42:16 UTC | #915573

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 6 by Premiseless

It's an emotional cocktail from which reason is difficult to distill. The fear is neuron reacted with guilt, love and prolonged delusions about each continuing in some after death scenario. Such a de facto platform for living is a compound resistant to reduction. Smelting wholesale reason from this is extraordinarily exothermic. Maybe this explains why the religious powers formulate such compounds? Neuron warfare that must be stored in the oils of delusion!

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 11:47:52 UTC | #915574

Duff's Avatar Comment 7 by Duff

Why wouldn't religionists be antagonistic to science. Science has been closing in on them, pushing them into an ever shrinking realm, for over a thousand years.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 12:02:14 UTC | #915576

peter mayhew's Avatar Comment 8 by peter mayhew

"As a result, science need not be the direct enemy of faith."

Just the opposite of it then.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 12:10:21 UTC | #915579

cheesedoff17's Avatar Comment 9 by cheesedoff17

Good for you Laurence Krauss! This is what we need, more scientists speaking out publicly in defence of reason. As it is, anybody, the moment he dresses like a woman, will be "respected" for his beliefs no matter how aberrant.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 12:18:10 UTC | #915583

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 10 by Steve Zara

This is generally a good article, but I have to take issue with these paragraphs:

*As science continues to encroach on this issue of profound human interest, it would be most unfortunate if the inherent skepticism associated with scientific progress were to drive a further wedge between science and society.

As a cosmologist, I am keenly aware of the limitations inherent in our study of the universe and its origins – limitations arising from the accidents of our birth and location in a universe whose limits may forever be beyond the reach of our experiments.

As a result, science need not be the direct enemy of faith. However, a deep tension will persist until the faithful recognise that a willingness to question even one's most fervently held beliefs – the hallmark of science – is a trait that should be respected, not reviled.*

I can't go along with this. It repeats a really awkward attempt at compromise between science and faith that is usually suggested by believers. The compromise is that it should be acceptable for faith to speculate about areas of knowledge that science can't yet reach and may never reach. That is not what faith does, though. Faith claims to have truths about those areas of knowledge and then insists that it has a right to dictate to people how they should live because of these truths. Faith is not speculative science fiction, it's about supernatural facts.

The wedge between science and society must be removed through greater education, and better explanations of how science works and why science is the way that we find out the truth of what is real. Giving any kind of credibility to supernatural speculation isn't going to help.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 12:45:58 UTC | #915587

Sharpur's Avatar Comment 11 by Sharpur

I note with joy that one of the theist commentators in the Guardian introduced the phrase "mischievous atheists". I like this so much better than "fundamentalist/militant atheist" that I have decided to adopt it. It seems to me a good description of both Hitch and Prof. Dawkins at their best. ;)

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 12:50:56 UTC | #915589

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 12 by SaganTheCat

nice to see the CiF comments kicking off with the usual hysteria then

it's true that religion and science need not be enemies but they simply are. if religion chose to it could be the enemy of sport ("some controversey on the pitch there, second official consulting deutoronomy now to see if that crossed the line or not...") but it chooses science because science affects everyone and religion aims to affect everyone.

hope this is the start of more sensible comment though, some nice people are getting picked on for the sake of not joining a gang. and we wonder why kids get in trouble..?

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 12:58:36 UTC | #915591

Sample's Avatar Comment 13 by Sample

Comment Removed by Author

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 13:33:03 UTC | #915597

alif's Avatar Comment 14 by alif

I don't see the issue being trust of atheists. The mere presence of atheists is very unnerving to believers. In my family we are former Muslims. We do however occassionally attend a Mosque function for an engagement of a relative, birthday etc. We haven't come out as "atheists" but we are proof that you can live a wonderful, productive life without practicing Islam. So we get strange questions where people want to believe that our children must be drug addicts, failing in school or be infected with several STDs. When they see us, healthy, smiling, well adjusted and not antagonistic to them we pierce their religious bubble. When that bubble is pierced their beliefs are threatened. Their thoughts might be something like "Atheists must be evil because all I have sacrificed for my religion is meaningless if there is no difference in morality and goodness between myself and atheists." So if we are seen as benign it threatens their world view.
I think for some Christians, they have sympathy for atheists because they feel they haven't been touched by god yet so they condescend and pray for them but first they have to believe atheists are deficient and unfortunate in some way. That's the reason they are okay with people of other faiths-they believe in the unseen as they do but they just have some of the details wrong. A nice, well adjusted, atheist in their midst is a pretty clear message that faith isn't all that important to a good life.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 14:08:55 UTC | #915609

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 15 by DocWebster

Comment 11 by Sharpur :

I note with joy that one of the theist commentators in the Guardian introduced the phrase "mischievous atheists". I like this so much better than "fundamentalist/militant atheist" that I have decided to adopt it. It seems to me a good description of both Hitch and Prof. Dawkins at their best. ;)

So we've graduated to being those pesky kids with their Rock and Roll and hot rods staying out till all hours and depriving a civilized man of a good night's sleep with their racing around the block. It's just another way to dismiss atheism without actually answering any argument.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 14:22:12 UTC | #915611

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 16 by SomersetJohn

The researchers of the new paper concluded: "Outward displays of belief in God may be viewed as a proxy for trustworthiness … believers may consider atheist's absence of belief as a public threat to cooperation and honesty." This probably explains recent electoral successes of openly devout presidential candidates who previously demonstrated dubious ethics, while also explaining the absence of any serious candidates without known religious affiliation.

This suggests an interesting area to exploit. So many of these public figures, while expounding on their vigorous religious beliefs, express views and commit acts totally opposite to their chosen religion. Exposing this hypocrisy, and keeping it in the public eye as much as possible, may eventually reduce the artificial and unwarranted respect belief itself is granted.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 14:33:49 UTC | #915617

achromat666's Avatar Comment 17 by achromat666

Reason and faith are opposites, the attempts to blur this line don't change because people want it to. Blind obedience and utter subservience to an unprovable deity will always be the opposite of critically examining the relevant data and drawing a conclusion based on the results.

That people who have faith in a religion can respect that others don't share and don't have to share their views is the very least that can be asked when typically the idea of being atheist in the US alone is often met with scorn. Rather odd that those demanding to be respected seem so unwilling to give it to people outside of their way of thinking.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 14:41:23 UTC | #915619

lago's Avatar Comment 18 by lago

"I note with joy that one of the theist commentators in the Guardian introduced the phrase "mischievous atheists". I like this so much better than "fundamentalist/militant atheist" that I have decided to adopt it. It seems to me a good description of both Hitch and Prof. Dawkins at their best. ;)"

Almost sounds like Gollum complaining about "nasty hobbits".

"Nasty filthy atheists, always using their reason to steal my precioussssses"

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 14:48:21 UTC | #915621

potteryshard's Avatar Comment 19 by potteryshard

Are 'outward displays of belief in God' a proxy for trustworthiness? Maybe.

More likely in my cynical view is that such displays are simply an announcement that "Hey! I'm a member of the club!" and brand recognition. Some of is very likely demands for attention and self-glorification. (Tebowism) I would suspect that much of this posturing amounts to bragging; by exhibiting the willingness to noisily and publically act the fool for god, the displayer intimidates others.

Collectively, these emotional drivers would seem to boost the socal status and respect (as in fear of, rather than admiration of) for the flagrant god-botherer. Rather than as for a proxy for trustworthiness, I would tend to feel that noisy diplays are a learned tool, because in an environment of social animals, these little social pushes work for the user.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 14:55:07 UTC | #915622

stuhillman's Avatar Comment 20 by stuhillman

Since faith is often not based on evidence, however.................

Hey, Lawrence, are you going soft on us - or them. Surely the definition of faith is that it's never based on evidence?

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:37:49 UTC | #915633

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 21 by Anonymous

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Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:42:57 UTC | #915634

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 22 by Anonymous

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Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:47:27 UTC | #915636

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 23 by Alan4discussion

Comment 19 by potteryshard

Collectively, these emotional drivers would seem to boost the socal status and respect (as in fear of, rather than admiration of)

Within the sheeple gatherings, a little cross on a necklace is a "humble" sign of a follower of the Sunday clown in fancy dress waving a BIG cross around, but as a badge of superiority over non-club members for the rest of the week.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:50:58 UTC | #915637

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 24 by Schrodinger's Cat

Asking believers to respect rationality is like the big bad wolf asking the three little pigs to respect a good English breakfast.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 16:48:00 UTC | #915643

mcneely's Avatar Comment 25 by mcneely

To the ardent believer I would ask: If the veracity of your faith is so strong, and the apparent truth it embodies unquestionable, then why are you offended if I don't believe? Why should it matter?

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 17:14:04 UTC | #915650

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 26 by SaganTheCat

I also loved the "mischievous atheists" comment although to my shame my reference was more scooby doo

I hope to be referred to as a pesky atheist in future

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 17:33:31 UTC | #915657

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 27 by Tyler Durden

Comment 25 by mcneely :

To the ardent believer I would ask: If the veracity of your faith is so strong, and the apparent truth it embodies unquestionable, then why are you offended if I don't believe? Why should it matter?

It's all due to evangelism.

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." - Matthew 28:18-20

If they don't get you to believe as they do then they have failed; if they have failed, their god will not be happy; and they fear their god.

So, like most aspects of religion, it's done out of fear.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 17:42:20 UTC | #915659

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 28 by drumdaddy

I've given up on communicating with the "faithful" since they've had supernatural drivel burned into their brains. I reach out to the fence-sitters, those who don't attend religious services and don't subscribe to invasive doctrines. You know, the folks who show up only at weddings and funerals to pay homage to the dead, but not to a god. When they all speak up our numbers will quadruple. Until then, they will float along, avoiding any angry reactions they'd receive from the brainwashed bigots. Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 18:10:24 UTC | #915664

dragonclarke's Avatar Comment 29 by dragonclarke

I haven't read all of the comments on this one, but has anyone pointed out the obvious yet? i.e. that smelting wholesale reason from the de facto platform for living employed by religious folk is extraordinarily exothermic.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 18:34:57 UTC | #915667

wcapehart's Avatar Comment 30 by wcapehart

Krauss can write what he pleases in the Guardian but is it me reading current events vis. free thinkers at british universities or does he seem to be missing a critical piece of the respect argument?

Yes, what happened to Ahlquist was deplorable but "respect" was never asked of Ahlquist. Scientists are not asked to "respect" religious sensitivities of creationists on the big bang or genesis. I have rarely heard the word used in these contexts. Meanwhile we've had brushes with effective derecognition of UCL and LSE humanist groups in the name unreciprocated "respect." Yet he doesn't mention it.

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 18:41:25 UTC | #915669