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Comments by AtheistEgbert

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 345 by AtheistEgbert

Interesting how the moderator decided to delete my post, while I was stating the truth and while I try and defend secularism.

Well, I take my leave from this debate, as my irony meter just blew up.

Thu, 10 May 2012 12:12:05 UTC | #940849

Go to: Today’s example of Christian privilege: Delta Airlines

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 14 by JeffVader67 :

Purely a business decision by Delta as they don't want to be associated with people who insult Christianity, the faith followed by many of their passengers. At the BBC there is a simple rule for being a so called commedian. 1. Slag off Daily Mail readers 2. Repeated use of the F and C word 3. Say things about Christians they wouldn't dare say about a certain other faith

" I hate F%$£"G daily Mail readers, and all Christians are F*&%$£G C$%S " There, now give me a £200000 a year BBC comedy contract.

A business decision based on prejudice.

I do, however, agree with you that there are too many unfunny amateur comedians/trolls on the internets, and a lot of them are immature atheists.

Thu, 10 May 2012 10:09:09 UTC | #940836

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 337 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 336 by Ignorant Amos :

Comment 333 by The Jersey Devil

Fine. By this definition the United States is not a secularist country.

Well I know that.....hence the purpose of the fight.

Well, it's more a defense than a fight. The aggressor is always religion, which does not respect the wall of separation. Secularism is not meant to create an atheist society, it's meant to protect the state from religious tyranny.

Thu, 10 May 2012 01:15:43 UTC | #940810

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 331 by AtheistEgbert

I'm interested in learning whether people are strict or 'zero tolerance' secularist or not. If not, but what criteria would you suggest we use to make our judgemnets on where to draw the line.

Easy. Secularism is a principle of separation of church and state. It's a wall of separation, with no exceptions.

Wed, 09 May 2012 23:05:49 UTC | #940794

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 329 by AtheistEgbert

I have a questions:

Should the City of San Fransisco be forced to change it's name? How about Los Angeles? Or St. Paul Minnesota?

It's amazing the lengths you guys will go to, to try and win this argument.

Wed, 09 May 2012 22:26:32 UTC | #940789

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 321 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 317 by Sample :

Kicking up a fuss is the American way. This is what we do. And it's the fault of a document, a teenie weenie one really, just six pages in length, called the fucking Constitution.

Mike

Part of this 'fear' from accommodationists of not upsetting the religious majority, is once again religious privilege as being perceived as the default position. So I agree, be confrontational, loud, and cause offense. It's called "Freedom of speech" and "raising awareness".

Wed, 09 May 2012 16:14:04 UTC | #940742

Go to: Sean Faircloth: Do Something About the Religio-Industrial Complex

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by AtheistEgbert

Ridiculous extravagance is not only confined to ministers and religionists.

And guess where she now works...

Wed, 09 May 2012 11:49:42 UTC | #940712

Go to: Sean Faircloth on The Secular Buddhist podcast

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 3 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Insofar as Buddhism doesn't have a god and is primarily based on the philosophical musings of its founder......there comes a point where one has to wonder just exactly what is the demarcation line between 'religion' and politics. I mean, Marxism also has no god and is based on someone's observations of the world. Indeed...I've met Marxists who've had all the fervour of any religious zealot.

I've tried to point this out, that religion is external and not internally generated. There are no beliefs at the core of religion, only delusions and rationalizations for obedience to authority and lack of self-control.

Wed, 09 May 2012 11:30:52 UTC | #940709

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 314 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 310 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Comment 282 by AtheistEgbert

But as you and I know, the majority of people are not rational. They are therefore represented by the supposed 'rational guardians' or their political representatives instead. If these are 'corrupted' as they surely are by now, then democracy is in real trouble. Hence the need to fight against tyranny by fighting all forms of inequality, including religious privilege, no matter how small or petty it may appear to anyone and their personal opinion.

A stone cross in a parking lot is tyranny ? What's it doing.........jumping out at passing motorists and forcing them to say hail Mary or something ? Is it wandering into town hall meetings and stirring up religious hatred and calls for public flogging ? Maybe it's part of a secret cabal of stonework that plans to take over the USA !

Nope...it just sits there and exhibits its peculiar topology. It's dead. Like the people it memorialises.

So....we have a dead piece of stone vs some quite alive 'secularists'. Don't these people have better windmills to chase ?

Again, it's an illegal monument. The harm it does is that it erodes the principle of the separation of the state and constitutional law. It's a marker of property and the cross signifies in everyone's minds that this is Christian property on public turf.

There ought to be no resistance at all to it being moved, and yet, the resistance persists.

Wed, 09 May 2012 10:46:08 UTC | #940706

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 309 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 306 by mmurray

An interesting discussion by all.

Unfortunately, I am the wrong person to defend secularism, because it's not my real position. Anyone can be a secularist, whether Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jew or Atheist.

The point is, if we all want to live in a democracy, then we must accept democratic values and principles.

Wed, 09 May 2012 01:25:08 UTC | #940650

Go to: Mathematics: stupid and clever questions for people who understand

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by AtheistEgbert

Infinity has driven many mathematicians mad. Or were they mad to begin with?

Tue, 08 May 2012 21:25:14 UTC | #940615

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 303 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 296 by Nunbeliever :

Who said they have to be coherent.

Well, if you want to be taken seriously, as having reasoned opinions, then you probably do have to be coherent.

Tue, 08 May 2012 20:52:01 UTC | #940608

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 294 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 287 by Nunbeliever :

To AtheistEgbert:

Accommodationists need to do one simple thing: form a coherent rational argument for why the monument should not be moved. Otherwise, reason is on the side of secularists.

1) It is of historical importance.

2) It is counterproductive to demand the removal of a century old cross, when no one really seems to have been bothered by it so far. With regard to recent violations of the constitution we have an obligation to protest in order to prevent an escalation. Hence, even seemingly petty endavours are worth pursuing. In this case the modern government had nothing to do with the cross. It was raised a century ago. Let's concentrate on current matters that actually matters.

I want to stress that there might be several good reasons for removing the cross, but none of them are in defense of secularism. So yes, if the cross is not of historical importance it should legally be removed in my opinion. But, you always have to weigh the pros and cons. Nothing is black and white. This is in my opinion not a fight worth taking.

Do you not see 1) contradicts 2)

1 "It is of historical importance." 2. "It is counterproductive to demand the removal of a century old cross, when no one really seems to have been bothered by it so far"

Either it's important or it's not important, which is it? Again, incoherent and contradictory.

Tue, 08 May 2012 19:13:09 UTC | #940592

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 285 by AtheistEgbert

Here is what I said:

Accommodationists need to do one simple thing: form a coherent rational argument for why the monument should not be moved. Otherwise, reason is on the side of secularists.

Writing long rhetorical responses that is repeating what has gone before is not winning the rational argument. I am familiar with all the games, so those who wish to persist hindering secularism need to form a coherent rational argument, or instead lose the rational argument. But I won't get sucked into game playing, it's up to you.

Tue, 08 May 2012 17:42:04 UTC | #940575

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 282 by AtheistEgbert

I personally do not think the establishment clause was ever intended to prevent local authorities acting at their own discretion.

Well, that's your personal opinion then.

No....I'm just someone who thinks that political power should rest with the people and their immediate representatives....

The 'people' means everyone, not just the majority. You can have tyranny of several kinds: A dictator, an oligarchy or the majority. The majority can't force their beliefs on others, or that would be a tyranny.

Enlightenment values, on which the American constitution is based--possibly by accident more than wisdom--is meant to protect every citizen from tyranny. They're values based on reason and then written down in a less than perfect constitutional form.

But as you and I know, the majority of people are not rational. They are therefore represented by the supposed 'rational guardians' or their political representatives instead. If these are 'corrupted' as they surely are by now, then democracy is in real trouble. Hence the need to fight against tyranny by fighting all forms of inequality, including religious privilege, no matter how small or petty it may appear to anyone and their personal opinion.

Tue, 08 May 2012 17:28:04 UTC | #940569

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 279 by AtheistEgbert

Nunbeliever,

You're making this stuff up. Secularism is pretty simple. The American constitution is not an incoherent mess, but coherent and based on Enlightenment values.

Your incoherence persists. Is this issue important or is it unimportant? You seem unable to decide. Do you care about secularism or not? Again, indecision.

Accommodationists need to do one simple thing: form a coherent rational argument for why the monument should not be moved. Otherwise, reason is on the side of secularists.

Tue, 08 May 2012 16:51:57 UTC | #940561

Go to: The Case for Naturalism

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 40 by Peanuts :

Comment 39 by AtheistEgbert "I never said atheism is really about equality."

No? My mistake.

" Comment 37 by AtheistEgbert The goal of the atheist movement is pretty obvious--equality."

Peanuts,

You seem intent on misrepresenting what I say, for your own sport.

I said "atheist movement" not atheism.

Tue, 08 May 2012 16:45:00 UTC | #940560

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 274 by AtheistEgbert

Peanuts,

You've joined rather late in the discussion, and with respect, since you're taking the opposing position, I am going to argue against you like the others. Nothing personal.

I've been lurking on this site for a long time and this is the comment that strikes the strongest chord with me. Sometimes I feel more in accord with the atheist movement, sometimes less. But there is a note of fanaticism creeping in of late which I find very off-putting. No matter how "right" a cause, a sense of perspective is always important. And coming across as vindictive or obsessive or extreme or intolerant isn't going to do the cause any good at all.

It's all very well discussing your feelings and sentiment, but do you have a rational basis for your disagreement with the removal of a monument or not? Or it is purely emotional attachment to a religious symbol?

Also, what you've done is a bit of fallacious poisoning the well. You don't agree with the secularist position, so you'll paint them as petty, vindicitive, extreme, intolerant. These are all the sentiments of the accommodationist, who is perfectly happy to misrepresent their opponents with personal attacks and hatred, and yet think of themselves as lovely nice people.

The fact is some religious symbols and phrases have become so commonplace as to - to all and intents and purposes - lose their religious significance altogether. The cross of a war memorial is something we can all identify with, not as a symbol of Christianity, but as a symbol of commemoration, of respect, of gratitude to those who gave their lives (or, more accurately, had their lives snatched from them). When I see a war memorial - even with "In God we trust" written on it - I no more think religion than I do when someone says "Bless you" after I sneeze. Christianity is part of our heritage, and that actually weakens its religious impact, because it means that its manifestations could be declarations of religion OR declarations of identity/nationality/culture.

What you have just defended is called 'religious privilege'. You might not be aware of it, but it's your blind spot, and all those who are arguing against those who are defending, rationally, secularism.

You've also displayed the obvious denial I was referring to earlier. One moment, these monuments require utmost respect and historical privilege, while the next, they're unimportant and insignificance. Well which is it? Either it's unimportant and therefore there ought to be no resistance to the secular position of removal, or they're highly important and deserve respect, in which case you're defending religious privilege and contradicting yourself.

"Going after a war memorial is going to cause deep offence to large numbers of people."

What is offensive is sending soldiers to die in wars, to fight for their country and constitution, while the vast majority fail to stand up for it. I'm not even America, but I regard the American constitution as far more enlightened than any equivalent in Europe.

But again, more rhetoric based on emotion, and the bullying tactics of the majority over a minority.

Keep a sense of perspective, I beg of you. Be tolerant.

Which means in other words that we secularists are the intolerant persecutors while religionists and their enablers are the poor victims. That is not the truth, and once again an emotional rhetorical argument of poisoning the well. It is religion that is the aggressor here, by placing a cross on a monument.

Of course, claiming to speak for an imaginary majority of people and instilling fear is not begging but bullying and coercion.

Even I find it distasteful, and I have been hostile to religion for as long as I can remember.

Ahh, another passionate secularist, who is really representing the true secular/atheist position, while those defending the separation of church and state are fanatics and militant secularists. This is sounding rather familiar.

The symbol in this case is a memorial to the war dead first, a religious symbol second and even then, only to those people who interpret it that way. Are we so delicate that we can't withstand the slightest allusion to religious belief?

Of course, rational secularists are the wimpy ones. But weren't we also the obsessive intolerant vindictive extremists. Again, which is it? Either we're delicate flowers with no guts or we're fundamental terrorists? It doesn't matter because both are strawman positions designed to discredit the opposing argument.

We share our society with people to whom Christianity is deeply important.

Religious privilege again.

ACTUALLY, it is merely a piece of stone, moulded in a particular shape. It has no meaning as and of itself. By protesting against it, we imbue it with more meaning than it has ever had in reality.

So

  1. The removal (not destruction) of a religious monument on public state owned land is petty and unimportant.
  2. The monument is so historically important that it transcends constitutional laws.
  3. I am a passionate secularist.

Well played sir. You decided to come in and use the same incoherent argument as the others, while adding to the numbers. The more the merrier, and no doubt that means with greater numbers you win the argument. Majority rule and all that.

Tue, 08 May 2012 15:45:22 UTC | #940549

Go to: The Case for Naturalism

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by AtheistEgbert

Peanuts:

"I have been reading your posts for a long time now, and wondering where you get this idea from that atheism is really about equality?"

I never said atheism is really about equality.

Tue, 08 May 2012 14:59:45 UTC | #940544

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 271 by AtheistEgbert

It is very important imo and the contrasting views are very interesting.

Unfortunately, it only confirms in my mind that the sentiments of the vast majority contradict basic enlightenment values that form the foundation of modern western civilization.

Those sentiments are patriarchy and matriarchy, and it doesn't matter if you're a theist or an atheist, those same sentiments are the driving force back to inequality and its evils.

Tue, 08 May 2012 13:49:46 UTC | #940534

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 267 by AtheistEgbert

The accommodationist argument being made so far is rather absurd. It goes:

  1. The removal (not destruction) of a religious monument on public state owned land is petty and unimportant.

  2. The monument is so historically important that it transcends constitutional laws.

  3. I am a passionate secularist.

So which is it? Is it unimportant and insignificant or is it sacred and holy? It can't be both. How do you support the idea that you're a passionate secularist while not supporting the separation of church and state?

I conclude you're not secularists, and your arguments are absurd, based on gross misunderstanding about secularism, and an emotional attachment to religious objects which are above secular laws.

When it comes to important historical sites (A fire station car park is debatable) then there is a simple solution called a public trust, where such sites are protected but not functional properties of the state. The other solution--move it to private land.

Tue, 08 May 2012 12:27:26 UTC | #940525

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 264 by AtheistEgbert

Jessica Alquist's case was damn right. This cause (the old memorial part) isn't. Let's not pollute our progress with legalism and threats of litigation concerning ancient monuments and War Dead.

It is not an 'ancient monument'. You're giving this monument a 'sacred' status.

Do you have a rational argument or are you going to stick to emotional hysterics?

Tue, 08 May 2012 10:02:08 UTC | #940512

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 263 by AtheistEgbert

So it's about upholding the LAW?

In the case of America, the law and secularism are the same thing.

Secularism means principally: separation of church and state

What you're preaching is not secularism but accommodationism.

And there is no provision for secularism in the Finnish constitution.

Tue, 08 May 2012 09:41:31 UTC | #940511

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 258 by AtheistEgbert

I'm sure you have an intelligible argument hidden within your comment somewhere, but I'm sorry to say I can't find it. Exactly where in my comment did I support religious privilege?

I'm pretty confident my argument for supporting this is solid.

Secularism means separation of church and state. It appears you don't support the separation of church and state, by your comments as follows:

But, that is really irrelevant. Even if it was a religious symbol. Should we tear down all religious monuments that lie on public ground? Old churches or ruins? What about the pyramids? They are religious symbols as well. Should they be torn down? This is insanity in my modest opinion.

Two errors you've made. The first is you don't understand the difference between public property and private property. The second is that this is about America and its secular law, and not about other non-secular countries.

America is a secular nation and has been for over two hundred years. It has a constution where the first ammendment states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

The constitution is the highest law in the land, and goes above all other forms of law. Any building, monument or any fixed object that is religious breaks this law, and is therefore illegal.

It's an illegal monument, that was illegal when it was constructed and has remained illegal ever since.

You are British (I assume) like me, which is not a secular country, and has an official state church. Thus, you're unaware of the religious privilege that exists here in Britain, the same privilege that you continue to support by arguing for illegal religious monuments on state property in America.

You could begin with answering my question whether you want all religious symbols on public places to be tore down regardless of their nature and history?

The answer in the case of America is a yes. Public means state owned. Privately owned land does not apply. In this case, a Firestation is part of the state and therefore it is illegal to have such a monument on it. Any important historical or religious site that is not privately owned can be placed into a trust and held a place of special historical interest, and therefore falling outside the ownership of the state. That can't apply on a functioning Firestation.

Unfortunately, since you misunderstand the difference between private and public property, you've gone hysterical and completely misrepresented the secular position. That doesn't aid the cause of secularists.

Man, this argument is so hollow. You really are in a desperate need to rationalize your irrational behaviour aren't you?

I don't think the American constitution is irrational, nor the principle of secularism, but I do think you're being irrational.

I mean, I have not heard a single rational argument for why this cross should be taken down.

Once again, the monument is illegal. That is a rational argument for why the cross or monument should be removed. It's not a technicality, it's the entire point of secularism, which is part of the American constitution, and therefore the most important fundamental laws of the land, and the reason why Americans sacrifice their lives for their country.

Tue, 08 May 2012 01:52:22 UTC | #940473

Go to: Mathematics: stupid and clever questions for people who understand

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by AtheistEgbert

My favourite two questions:

1) What is the squareroot of minus one?

and

2) What is the result of any number divided by zero?

Have fun with those.

Mon, 07 May 2012 20:01:31 UTC | #940380

Go to: The Case for Naturalism

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by AtheistEgbert

I agree that the term "atheist" is failing to convey a lot of the positive positions that many of us are making.

I am happy to call myself a naturalist, but even the word naturalist currently has limitations confined to the methodologies and understanding of the physical sciences. What about ethics or politics? Or economics and art?

Still no term right now really expresses all my attitudes, views and goals, which are anti-religious, anti-authoritarian, pro-freedom and pro-equality.

Mon, 07 May 2012 19:30:22 UTC | #940372

Go to: FFRF announces fund to aid nonbelieving clergy

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by AtheistEgbert

Well, this is great news, and I do remember suggesting this idea on this very website! Well, I won't take credit for it! I'm just happy it happened.

And of course we should care, as compassionate people. But it's obviously very much in our interest to get as many non-believing clergy to drop out as possible, especially with the great wealth of experience and leadership that they can provide.

Mon, 07 May 2012 18:58:44 UTC | #940367

Go to: Teresa MacBain on CNN - Faces of Faith

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by AtheistEgbert

No time lag for me. Great to see no animosity or hostility from the CNN presenter. Imagine if she were to go on Fox News though? People really do underestimate the prejudice we atheists are subjected to. I am very lucky to not face it here in the UK, but I can't imagine the hate that atheists face in some places in America, and in Muslim countries.

Mon, 07 May 2012 18:37:40 UTC | #940358

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 246 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 239 by Nunbeliever

I am all for secularism.

No you're not. You're clearly against secularism for supporting religious privilege, as are all the self declared 'passionate secularists' on this thread who are so passionately defending something so unimportant.

Comment 240 by Bobwundaye

I know this wasn't a question for me, but allow me to interject, if I may. I think that various people have different ideas about what secularism is and to what extent religion and state should be separate. As such, there is a spectrum.

I didn't know truth, justice or reality was defined by the spectrum of opinion, so thanks for that. I guess there must be a spectrum of opinion for 2+2=4 or rape.

Comment 242 by Schrodinger's Cat

And this 90 year old statue leaped out and accosted someone....did it ?

Maybe a Christian filled with a belief in their special privilege may accost an atheist, or a black person or a Jew or a gay person. It certainly appears to have happened enough times in history.

Comment 244 by Schrodinger's Cat

If the majority sentiment in that town, when the statue was put up, was Christian then in my view it would have been a far greater violation of the Constitution for the local authority not to have done it's job of representing the people.

and

because the whole point is that the will of the people would be respected whatever that will happened to be.

Not 'people' but a majority religion, in other words you're happy for the tyranny of the majority to rule by force over reason. The constitution is supposed to protect the individual and minorities and make everyone equal. It appears that you disagree with that.

Suppose instead the majority religion was Islam. I guess we must respect the will of the majority of Muslims for the death penalty for blasphemy.

Mon, 07 May 2012 17:49:12 UTC | #940344

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Jump to comment 238 by AtheistEgbert

This story has reached the Washington Post where it's claimed it may get removed without even going to court.

Something I learned from this discussion is that I am more angry and reviled by accommodationists who side with religious privilege than I am passionate about secularism itself. I think secularism is a compromising and weak position, but nonetheless essential for a properly functioning democracy.

I am a secularist but secularism is not atheism nor is it anti-religious. I am anti-religious, but do not consider using force to rid the world of this evil. The only justification for force is self-defense, and when secularism is ignored for religious privilege, then it starts becoming a matter of self-defense. Civil disobedience is not an option I'd rule out, either.

Also, it's not a bloody symbol, it's a physical object. Symbols aren't being removed or destroyed here, but the physical objects which are obviously used as markers for property and de-secularizing public land.

Mon, 07 May 2012 11:28:18 UTC | #940280