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← So what's the goal with theism?

So what's the goal with theism? - Comments

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 1 by The Jersey Devil

What should the ultimate goal be?

The RDFRS mission statement pretty much somes it up for me.

The one thing I'll add is that it's more of a process then a destination.

Tue, 15 May 2012 18:09:28 UTC | #941651

holysmokes's Avatar Comment 2 by holysmokes

Ideally I'd like them to stop coercing children. Of course that will never happen because of their "parental rights." Next I would like to see them feel embarrassed when they proclaim their "faith." That will also never happen, so I guess the only realistic goal is to get them thinking critically and hope they gain a better understanding for science and how it works.

Tue, 15 May 2012 18:17:48 UTC | #941656

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 3 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Secularism should be the ultimate aim. Everybody should be free to believe what they want but not have the right to impose their beliefs or claim privilege because of them.

And the most important issue at the moment is to continue to break down the taboo that so many people (even the non-religious) still hold that it is wrong to criticise religion. Once we can break down that particular door, I think it will be a major step to seeing religion really start to crumble.

Tue, 15 May 2012 19:03:18 UTC | #941661

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 4 by Alan4discussion

Comment 1 by The Jersey Devil

The RDFRS mission statement pretty much somes it up for me.

Scientific education and evidence-based rational thought for all sounds good to me. Debunking superstition and woo helps!

The one thing I'll add is that it's more of a process then a destination.

Is that not almost always the case with science. Evidence makes certain information highly probable, but investigation and discovery will always be an on-going process, as is learning in more intelligent humans.

Tue, 15 May 2012 19:17:49 UTC | #941665

ccw95005's Avatar Comment 5 by ccw95005

Most of us - those of us who aren't taking great pleasure in thinking ourselves smarter than the unwashed masses - would like to see religion disappear. Those of us who are convinced that every religion is based on false premises would prefer a world without belief in God. It would be great if people were rational and thoughtful and faced the universe without a need for superstition.

But it doesn't matter very much what we want. A disappearance of religion isn't going to happen. And there are some positives about religion. At least some of the faithful derive comfort from their beliefs, and some of them behave more humanely because they feel that God wants them to.

So the most we can hope for is a gradual transformation from religion to doubt to agnosticism and atheism. I see signs of this happening. But I don't think the human animal is built to be as logical in matters of philosophy as he is for approaching practical, everyday problems logically.

Tue, 15 May 2012 19:44:28 UTC | #941672

elisa_fdm's Avatar Comment 6 by elisa_fdm

Take religion out of schools, hospitals and courts of law. That would be my end goal.

I don't personally have a problem with whatever crazy beliefs people may hold in the privacy of their own brains (or privately owned buildings). People have a right to find comfort and spiritual satisfaction in whatever way they wish. But if those beliefs are carried forward and pedalled through political organisations which influence people's lives outside of their brains (or privately owned churches) then it becomes a problem.

It also becomes a problem when those privately owned buildings are exempt from tax and from all normal obligations any other privately owned building would have.

Atheism itself does not have an agenda and should not be politicised. The agenda is, and has always been, that of secularism. And, needless to say, despite the two things often going hand in hand, you don't have to be an atheist to be a secularist. My most intelligent theist friends are also secularists and agree on the importance of the separation of church and state. And Stalin was an atheist but not a secularist (in fact he promoted state atheism which is just as much of an abomination as any theocracy).

Tue, 15 May 2012 20:34:45 UTC | #941682

Serdan's Avatar Comment 7 by Serdan

I think too much attention is given to theism. All superstition should be eradicated and the pursuit of rationality should take its place.

Comment 6 by elisa_fdm :

Take religion out of schools, hospitals and courts of law. That would be my end goal.

I don't personally have a problem with whatever crazy beliefs people may hold in the privacy of their own brains (or privately owned buildings). People have a right to find comfort and spiritual satisfaction in whatever way they wish. But if those beliefs are carried forward and pedalled through political organisations which influence people's lives outside of their brains (or privately owned churches) then it becomes a problem.

If a large part of the global population is wildly irrational it will inevitably affect you.

Tue, 15 May 2012 20:44:08 UTC | #941684

Quine's Avatar Comment 8 by Quine

Thank you, elisa_fdm; the next time a theist hits me with the "Stalin was an atheist!" I will come back with "Yes, but he was not a secularist, and that was the problem!" Of course that was not the only problem with Stalin, but does provide a starting point for discussing why not believing in deities does not automatically make someone evil (or even antisocial, or perhaps not even grumpy).

Tue, 15 May 2012 21:02:51 UTC | #941686

elisa_fdm's Avatar Comment 9 by elisa_fdm

Comment 7 by Serdan : If a large part of the global population is wildly irrational it will inevitably affect you.

Only if they're allowed to be wildly irrational where decisions that affect me are taken. Many of the theists I know admit to the irrationality of their beliefs and would never dream of saying that, because God has spoken to them or inspired them, then any action should be taken regarding any type of public policy.

My goal (just as unattainable as the total disappearance of theism, I might add) is for all theists to be like that.

Tue, 15 May 2012 21:03:42 UTC | #941687

Quine's Avatar Comment 10 by Quine

As far as the OP goes, I think our goal is to restrict theists to differences that don't make a difference. They don't get to make public policy on religious grounds, and don't get to make claims that are exempt from challenge, and in state supported schools, they do not get to teach religion as fact or prevent children from finding out the counter evidence from science.

Tue, 15 May 2012 21:14:14 UTC | #941691

Serdan's Avatar Comment 11 by Serdan

Comment 9 by elisa_fdm :

Only if they're allowed to be wildly irrational where decisions that affect me are taken. Many of the theists I know admit to the irrationality of their beliefs and would never dream of saying that, because God has spoken to them or inspired them, then any action should be taken regarding any type of public policy.

My goal (just as unattainable as the total disappearance of theism, I might add) is for all theists to be like that.

It's impossible to draw that line. Poor thinkers make poor decisions.


My goal is for children to be taught how to think. If we could actually manage to do that somewhat competently all superstition would suffer greatly.

By the way, everyone should go read the "Ghost seance" thread. A wonderful demonstration is made of why the matter of theism is utterly irrelevant.

Tue, 15 May 2012 21:59:09 UTC | #941700

elisa_fdm's Avatar Comment 12 by elisa_fdm

Comment 11 by Serdan : My goal is for children to be taught how to think. If we could actually manage to do that somewhat competently all superstition would suffer greatly. By the way, everyone should go read the "Ghost seance" thread. A wonderful demonstration is made of why the matter of theism is utterly irrelevant.

Agreed 100%. But sadly, it would seem that a penchant for superstition is a part of human nature. If it's not theism, it ends up being something else (like ghosts). And I'm not sure nurture alone could stop it. Which is why it would be better and more realistic (but only just) to learn to recognise and rise above superstition in matters that count.

Tue, 15 May 2012 22:10:43 UTC | #941703

JackR's Avatar Comment 13 by JackR

I want them rendered powerless to have any effect on state, social or educational matters. I want laws prohibiting religious practice being foisted on minors. I want all religiously-based circumcision and similar forms of religious child abuse outlawed. I want these people castrated, metaphorically speaking. I'm far more interested in keeping them shackled than in (de)converting them, although if that happens it's a bonus. They have to do that for themselves, though. As most of us who were once religious did.

Wed, 16 May 2012 00:12:00 UTC | #941726

Sample's Avatar Comment 14 by Sample

My personal goal is to help extinguish the fires caused by religious tyranny. Global recognition that faith is the oxygen needed for religious smoke and flame would be helpful.

Mike

Wed, 16 May 2012 01:03:32 UTC | #941732

Floyd's Avatar Comment 15 by Floyd

I had to laugh when OP mentioned prisons and mental hospitals for theists! Nobody is suggesting anything like that. I disagree with those who say religion will never disppear. I'm optimistic that eventually it will. Given everything we now know about our world and the cosmos, there simply isn't any reason to believe in Gods. Aided by the power of global communication and knowledge-sharing, the end of faith seems inevitable. As an analogy, I was watching "Guess who's coming to dinnner?" on TV the other day and it was amazing that only 45 years ago a mixed-race marriage was seen as shocking. Progress can be made quicker than you think.

Wed, 16 May 2012 03:09:09 UTC | #941758

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 16 by VrijVlinder

Comment 15 by Floyd I had to laugh when OP mentioned prisons and mental hospitals for theists! Nobody is suggesting anything like that

I would suggest it. Not to throw away the keys but to subject them to a crash course in scientific discovery and somehow deprogram them so they can chose voluntarily to give up the imaginary friend.

I am of a marxist mentality but with capitalistic anarchistic anti theist twist. Deep inside I am a militant atheist I guess. Or at the very least not a compromising one. I am sick of charlatanry and it should be stopped.

Given everything we now know about our world and the cosmos, there simply isn't any reason to believe in Gods.

yet they still stubbornly believe!!! even come up with silly ideas like creationism.

"Guess who's coming to dinnner?" on TV the other day and it was amazing that only 45 years ago a mixed-race marriage was seen as shocking. Progress can be made quicker than you think.

Yea it took almost 50 years to accept mixed races, even more for women to get to vote, children's rights. I think atheism is at the bottom of the list of priorities. Considering philosophy is a personal choice.

Comment 10 by Quine As far as the OP goes, I think our goal is to restrict theists to differences that don't make a difference. They don't get to make public policy on religious grounds, and don't get to make claims that are exempt from challenge, and in state supported schools, they do not get to teach religion as fact or prevent children from finding out the counter evidence from science.

That is the most we can hope for. At least to start with.

Progress can't be quicker than I wish it to be.

Wed, 16 May 2012 04:07:27 UTC | #941765

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 17 by SaganTheCat

there's no goal with regards to theists as far as i can see.

the goal is to help atheists come out and ensure our human rights are not threatened

i have no goal with theists. if one wishes to talk to me i wouldn't try to deconvert them but if they were in the process of losing faith and wanted support i'd try to offer it regardless of which way they ended up

the out campaign is very similar to the campaigns for gay rights. there was no intention to convert straight poeple (although plenty of media outlets to this day seem to think that is the case), just accept that people are what we are.

any goals should be political rather than religious. people are free to believe in anything but we should be able to question the competence of anyone in authority using an irraitonal system of decision making.

one goal that should be more than enough for any activist is to keep on top of the prejudice and call it out when spotted. there's plenty being said in public about atheists that goes largely unchallanged but would cause uproar if aimed at any other group.

Wed, 16 May 2012 12:12:08 UTC | #941816

veggiemanuk's Avatar Comment 18 by veggiemanuk

As an atheist I have no goals, nor do I think atheism as a whole has a goal. I do however think that as a secularist I have goals and that secularism has a goal.

As a secularist, I would like to see the total sepperation of church and state, both here in the UK and everywhere else around the world. The abandonment of church run schools, charitable status removed from religion and pretty much the total demise of any power the church holds over the populace.

Wed, 16 May 2012 12:18:34 UTC | #941818

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 19 by Schrodinger's Cat

The real question should be ' What is atheism going to offer people instead of religion ? '

It's really only a small minority of people who have the 'truth at all costs' attitude to life. The vast majority want their opiate.......and simply don't want to hear that their already rather inonsequential lives actually exist in a cold, hard, meaningless universe.

Before one can even think about widespread atheism, one is going to have to take care of most of the social issues.....poverty, injustice, etc.....that cause religions to thrive in the first place.

Wed, 16 May 2012 13:08:53 UTC | #941829

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 20 by Red Dog

The more extreme views would be prisons, mental hospitals or something, but is there a less extreme consensus?

The more extreme view? How about the lunatic proto-fascist view? Can you point to one atheist (not some nutter commenting on a blog but someone with stature like Dawkins) who wants to put theists in prison or mental hospitals? That sounds to me like the kind of strawman that the theists would promote. "See this is what those atheists want to do, put good Christians in secret FEMA prisons!"

This gets back to the discussion of what an atheist movement is all about. For me its about a lot more than atheism. The simplest way to put my goals (and I think the goals of many others such as Dawkins) are "the values of the enlightenment". Reason is the way to solve problems not force. Everyone has certain basic rights and one of the most fundamental ones is the right to believe and express any insane thing they want as long as they don't harm others.

Wed, 16 May 2012 13:50:15 UTC | #941839

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 21 by Bobwundaye

Comment 17 by Daniel Clear there's no goal with regards to theists as far as i can see.

the goal is to help atheists come out and ensure our human rights are not threatened

Agreed. As an atheist my goal is not to convert the superstitious. When I tell my friends about my atheism, it is not to convert them, but to let them know who I am so that if we are to carry on being friends it will be without wearing a religious mask.

As an atheist, there is no end goal.

Wed, 16 May 2012 14:05:46 UTC | #941841

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 22 by All About Meme

Comment 19 by Schrodinger's Cat

Spot on. (Unfortunately.)

Wed, 16 May 2012 15:11:33 UTC | #941855

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 23 by All About Meme

I'd like theists to become much, much stronger in their faith in God, because all I'm seeing is a bunch of lemmings proving the maxim "Misery loves company".

If religious people truly have faith that their personal God exists and loves them, and that everything is going according to His plan, not to mention that He is due to arrive soon on Earth to take care of any remaining loose ends, then WHY in heaven's name do they even care what atheists think?

Hey Christian:

Why are you so offended by what a bunch of heathens say? It won't matter one iota in the long run, will it?

Why do you insist on tax breaks and special recognition from the government, and deny these same privileges to non-believers? What difference will a few bucks make in your apocalyptic endgame? God is going seek, find, and "raise up" all the true believers in His second coming, isn't He? Better still, doesn't this omniscient God already know who His children are? Furthermore, it seems all an unrepentant sinner has to do to "get right with God" in the afterlife is to kneel down at the Pearly Gates and utter a heartfelt oath of allegiance. Why then, can't you just ignore who you consider heathens in this life?

Just let us atheists have our sinful fun in the here and now. We'll pay dearly for it in the end, right? Or aren't balloon payments acceptable anymore?

It appears you Christians don't have real faith. You keep asking for special treatment in this material world, which is ultimately of no consequence whatsoever to true believers, and you also demand that atheists stop laughing at you. (Yes, we are laughing.) Why? Why do these trivial things matter to you?

Perhaps there are there different levels of seating in Paradise? If you convert three non-believers to Christianity, do you get a permanent front row seat instead of the nose bleed section at Jesus' eternal rock concert? Is this how Christian evangelism works? Spread the word now and redeem your prizes later? Sort of like the Girl Scout cookies business model?

In my view, a truly faithful Christian would let his actions speak much louder than his words. In other words: "C'mon, Christian, give up your tax havens -- they are only temporary, worldly pleasures of the flesh anyway. And stop censoring science and atheism -- God's coming back soon, right???"

Prove that you aren't just a bunch of miserable, intellectual weaklings who desperately need validation from heathens. In other words, please quit with the whining and start acting like you understand what the word "faith" really means.

/rant

Wed, 16 May 2012 17:54:44 UTC | #941886

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 24 by VrijVlinder

@Red:The more extreme view? How about the lunatic proto-fascist view? Can you point to one atheist (not some nutter commenting on a blog but someone with stature like Dawkins)

Christopher Hitchens ? He may be dead but he leaves a paved road for all atheists to walk tall and show by example what living atheist is all about. Best of Christopher Hitchens - Clips on religion Part 1 of 2

There is a goal for atheism. To help wake up the rest of the people. We would not have woken up to the reality unless it was natural to do so. Our own brains made us atheist. Based on reality. Our own brains choose to be duped , that is not normal nor natural and even less logical.

The majority of people in the world are still quite ignorant and being kept that way. Their lives are so hard and poverty stricken that they can't be bothered to learn anything even.

In order to change this situation, atheists must become more active in humanitarian efforts around the world. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates as well as Steve Jobs, atheists, humanists examples of godless people who give back enormously .

We must replace religious pseudo missionary work with just work, help without indoctrinating anyone. The truth will set everyone free once it is known by the masses of ignorant people. It will not happen on it's own. Our goal should be to eventually discard all gods and deities .

Accepting people to believe what they want is not going to work. That is how cults and religions are born. Someone gets some idea they write a book next thing you know it's scientology, or mormonism.

The world needs to be rid completely of any god and religious belief which goes against the natural harmony of the planet.

It is not a fascist view, it is an idealist view.

Wed, 16 May 2012 18:24:13 UTC | #941892

Bujin_ct's Avatar Comment 25 by Bujin_ct

I have no desire to "convert" anyone to atheism or humanism; my goal is to be as outspoken as possible about secularism. People's right to rely on faith over reason is fine as long as it doesn't impact public policy that affects those who do not share those beliefs.

Wed, 16 May 2012 18:26:46 UTC | #941894

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 26 by VrijVlinder

It is not about converting anyone it is about informing everyone about the truth. Standing by while people rely on faith eventually becomes public policy until someone (many) complains about it.

Religious beliefs and philosophies are imposed by those who govern . Separation of church and state is rarely enforced because the people governing are not secularists they are religious. The pressure from religious lobbyists and their money is hard to turn down when they use words like "Family Values" Who is against that?

The imposition of religious iconography and the acceptance of heavy marketing of god and christ are accepted by the country . Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion. Atheists have no rights get no breaks and get no respect .

How does this not affect those who do not share these beliefs?

Wed, 16 May 2012 18:58:01 UTC | #941895

JHJEFFERY's Avatar Comment 27 by JHJEFFERY

Comment 25 by Bujin_ct

I have no desire to "convert" anyone to atheism or humanism; my goal is to be as outspoken as possible about secularism. People's right to rely on faith over reason is fine as long as it doesn't impact public policy that affects those who do not share those beliefs.

Hi Bujin and welcome to the site.

For a long time I felt the way you do--but no longer. First, it is impossible for the religious not to try to influence public policy. Their belief system mandates that they try to change the world to fit their religious suppositions about things should be arranged.

More, importantly, religion is a firewall separating humans from progress. It's a reason stopper. I happen to believe in human progress, the expansion of human rights and the long-term success of the species (I think Darwin had a little to say about that belief).

So I went from being a casual atheist, like yourself, to a rabid antitheist, working to destroy the influence of superstition in our world. Come and join me.

Best

JHJ

Wed, 16 May 2012 19:18:20 UTC | #941897

G W Badmonkey's Avatar Comment 28 by G W Badmonkey

Hello all, newly registered member joining the fray.

Blockquote

I wholeheartedly agree. As an atheist I consider it my duty to try and undermine the influence of superstition wherever I find it.

We can't simply wait for theists to "wake up" because they won't unless someone gives them a good shake.

Wed, 16 May 2012 19:55:02 UTC | #941905

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 29 by VrijVlinder

@JH: More, importantly, religion is a firewall separating humans from progress

Yes so brilliantly true!! that would be the biggest reason to quit god. It stifles growth and I believe it points to the path of self extinction .

We can't let that happen.

Wed, 16 May 2012 20:20:29 UTC | #941910

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 30 by Alan4discussion

Comment 25 by Bujin_ct

I have no desire to "convert" anyone to atheism or humanism; my goal is to be as outspoken as possible about secularism.

Comment 28 by G W Badmonkey

Hello all, newly registered member joining the fray.

I wholeheartedly agree. As an atheist I consider it my duty to try and undermine the influence of superstition wherever I find it.

Welcome to you both!

As there is a lot of theist disinformation about, I would like to point out these earlier discussions which show the extent to which we are winning in some countries: - Particularly in parts of Europe.

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/568607-religion-respecting-the-minority - Today, a quarter of a century on, there has been a steady and remarkable turnaround. In the latest 2010 BSA report, published earlier this month, only 42% said they were Christians while 51% now say they have no religion.

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/644941-rdfrs-uk-ipsos-mori-poll-1-how-religious-are-uk-christians

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/644942-rdfrs-uk-ipsos-mori-poll-2-uk-christians-oppose-special-influence-for-religion-in-public-policy

Wed, 16 May 2012 20:21:08 UTC | #941911