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Can One Be Good Without God? - Comments

jel's Avatar Comment 1 by jel

this report starts by saying that being good without god is a controversial idea. that shows the reporters bias from the word go. why is the idea controversial?

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 17:48:00 UTC | #435109

root2squared's Avatar Comment 3 by root2squared

Stupid question. The answer is yes. A better question is "Can one be good with god?". And the answer is no; Not unless you ignore large parts of what your god says.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 17:58:00 UTC | #435114

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 2 by Bernard Hurley

why is the idea controversial?


So often controversy is in the eye of the beholder.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 17:58:00 UTC | #435113

Aindee's Avatar Comment 4 by Aindee

I agree with bringing like minded individuals together, as long as there is no preaching of ideals and only group discussion of topics.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 18:09:00 UTC | #435119

DoctorE's Avatar Comment 5 by DoctorE

FAIL.. I don't need no congregation, I don't need no flock control..

Go to the pub or whatever..

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 18:20:00 UTC | #435125

Mitch Kahle's Avatar Comment 6 by Mitch Kahle

I'm a life-long atheist and this was about the most positive piece I've ever seen on prime-time television news.

Progress, in my view, although I don't personally feel the need to join a congregation of atheists.

Of course this idea isn't new, the Unitarians are mostly atheist.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 18:27:00 UTC | #435126

alabasterocean's Avatar Comment 7 by alabasterocean

His idea don't suit me but I get it, hem seams like a good person and if they like to hang out church style, best of luck! As kind of a "cat atheist" I just don't see any need for a atheist forum *smirk* ;)

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 19:27:00 UTC | #435151

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 8 by TIKI AL

So "Pastor" Rick Warren says he would never vote for an atheist because of freedom, not prejudice.


prej·u·dice [ préjjədiss ]
noun (plural prej·u·dic·es)
Definition:

1. opinion formed beforehand: a preformed opinion, usually an unfavorable one, based on insufficient knowledge, irrational feelings, or inaccurate stereotypes

2. holding of ill-informed opinions: the holding of preformed opinions based on insufficient knowledge, irrational feelings, or inaccurate stereotypes

3. irrational dislike of somebody: an unfounded hatred, fear, or mistrust of a person or group, especially one of a particular religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexual preference, or social status

I guess he's half right. He has the freedom to exercise his obvious prejudice.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 19:34:00 UTC | #435152

LetMeBeClear's Avatar Comment 9 by LetMeBeClear

Im with you Mitch. I have lived in the bible belt for all of my 35 years, this is by far the most positive information displayed on prime television in the states. I am in agreement with everyone that we need no such reinforcement, but I believe the better question is should it be available if you did£

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 19:36:00 UTC | #435153

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 10 by justinesaracen

So why the Sunday morning nonsense? Why not all get together on Thursday night at a pub?
Um, I think atheists already do that.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 19:44:00 UTC | #435156

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 11 by InYourFaceNewYorker

It's just like anything else-- find a group where you can feel companionship. I go to the City Congregation of New York. It's a "congregation" of atheist/agnostic Jews who like Jewish tradition but divorced from the idea of God. We sing songs, eat dinner, and have discussions. Nobody tells anybody else what to think. I think this Epstein guy is advocating something like the City Congregation of New York.

Julie

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 21:10:00 UTC | #435173

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 12 by Mr DArcy

Why not all get together on Thursday night at a pub?
Um, I think atheists already do that.


Which pub? I'll be there!

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 21:13:00 UTC | #435174

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 13 by Dhamma

Which pub? I'll be there!

Is there a direct flight from Sweden perhaps?

People here are atheists. They just don't know what it is. Need like-minded.

I go to the City Congregation of New York. It's a "congregation" of atheist/agnostic Jews who like Jewish tradition but divorced from the idea of God.

I knew I should have been born a jew.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 21:28:00 UTC | #435179

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 14 by mirandaceleste

I find Epstein to be incredibly irritating and frustrating, primarily because he starts with the assumption that atheism is in itself a negative/empty/dour thing that "needs" humanism and humanist organizations and that "needs" to mimic religious rituals and practices in order to make it positive and meaningful. And I don't buy that for one second.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 22:25:00 UTC | #435201

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 15 by Nunbeliever

FAIL.. I don't need no congregation, I don't need no flock control..


Well, good news for you. You don't have to :-) Who is talking about flock control anyway? But others might want to have some group with whom they can identify and share thoughts.

BTW, I am pretty sure you are quite controlled even without congregations. Unless you are one of those deluded anarchists who think the individual is somehow totally immune to other individuals.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 22:26:00 UTC | #435202

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 16 by Nunbeliever

To TIKI AL:

I reacted in exactly the same way. This is so typical for politicians (yes Rick Warren is a politician). "It's freedom". Yes of course! It is not a crime to be prejudicial. It is not a crime to be stupid either, which I suspect Rick Warren is.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 22:30:00 UTC | #435204

Diocletian's Avatar Comment 17 by Diocletian

Rabbi Epstein has spoken out rather strongly against Dawkins and the other 'New Atheists', and seems to be of the belief that ONLY humanists without gods can be good... and 'atheist fundamentalists' drag down a positive movement away from religion. Epstein describes writers such as Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris as rigid in their dogma and intolerant. It therefore comes as no surprise that Epstein wants to align himself with religion... and create the exact replica of the very institution that has brought such terror and intolerance to the world.

Atheism as a religion really seems a bit frightening.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 22:56:00 UTC | #435210

Beeblebear's Avatar Comment 18 by Beeblebear

Comment #454669 by mirandaceleste

I find Epstein to be incredibly irritating and frustrating, primarily because he starts with the assumption that atheism is in itself a negative/empty/dour thing that "needs" humanism and humanist organizations and that "needs" to mimic religious rituals and practices in order to make it positive and meaningful. And I don't buy that for one second.


I haven't read him, but I do get the impression that he feels the need to be some kind of Humanist Rabbi or somthing (the clip of him preaching to what looked like an irreligious prayer circle would seem to indicate this).

I would however agree with him that there is definately a pressing need out there for strong interlinked local community groups (congregations?!) where young families of varying means and backgrounds can regularly socialise, help each other out etc. without having their minds filled with dangerous and irrelevant crap.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 22:59:00 UTC | #435211

msloane's Avatar Comment 19 by msloane

The idea of an atheist congregation may be okay if they don't alternatives. I feel there are just way too many better options: Sports Clubs; Lions & Rotary; School Boards; Gyms; Philosophic Society; Hobbies; etc.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 23:00:00 UTC | #435213

King of NH's Avatar Comment 20 by King of NH

FAIL.. I don't need no congregation, I don't need no flock control.


And if some atheists don't agree? Are they still true atheists?

A tad unfair to you, DoctorE, I will grant, since I have taken your point further than you may have. But let me be kind and assume you take your position only as an individual, and that you hope others will take a position that fits with their own best interests. If this is the case, I don't see how Epstein failed in any way, or why you would say he did. If my more unkind summation was closer to the mark, then I wonder aloud, "Why are you on this site?"

Humans are social creatures. Had churches rejected dogma and formed learned groups with the intention of discussing, researching, and solving the earth's problems, Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennet, PZ, Randi... They would all be just some iconoclast smearing graffiti on the walls of the Louvre for the fun of it. The group is not the problem with religion. Communities are not bad. Dogmatic authority is. I think humanists and other atheists forming communities to give comfort and support and to enact social progress, while open to certain problems, is more beneficial than preventing such groups will be. The one thing that is certain, though, is that nobody is forcing anybody else to join such groups either by medieval law or by threats of damnation. Those of us that want to group together offer only community, and hopefully a community with passionate disagreement, heated debates, and all of it in good fun and friendship.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 23:03:00 UTC | #435214

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 21 by InYourFaceNewYorker

I didn't get that impression at all, Diocletian. I got the impression that he meant there are other ways that we can come together-- and it might even be good for us as we are social animals.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 23:08:00 UTC | #435216

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 22 by Ignorant Amos

20. Comment #454683 by King of NH

I like what you said here. We are already "grouping" with science and atheist websites we can identify ourselves with and the various secular/humanist/atheist societies and groups to join with their get togethers and conventions. It's all about choices and the freedom make those choices.

Marked excellent.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 23:18:00 UTC | #435221

Beeblebear's Avatar Comment 23 by Beeblebear

22. Comment #454691 by Ignorant Amos

I agree.

However, as the religious indoctrinators well know, it's all about the kids. The real need is for somewhere that rationalism and the Scientific Method can be taught or reinforced in them in order to protect them from credulity, while at the same time giving them fun, organised activities. The adults can talk shop, or whatever, nearby.
This is what church groups do, isn't it? Only, they INSTILL credulity!

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 23:44:00 UTC | #435229

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 24 by God fearing Atheist

Different strokes for different folks.

If you like the kind of community a church gives but don't like the woo-woo, then Epstein gives a solution. All power to his elbow.

Not my bag, I have other hobbies where I socialise, so if an atheist congregation started meeting locally I would have no particular reason to go along. On the other hand, if it invited some particularly interesting speakers ...

The community work of these congregations will also help the image of atheism.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 23:52:00 UTC | #435234

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 25 by Ignorant Amos

23. Comment #454700 by Beeblebear

Indeed, your right and isn't that the purpose of the summer camps being advocated on this site. I'd say, that from the adult groupings, the natural progression would be for it to rub of on the kids. The rational world has a habit of doing that sort of thing without any force being applied, given a chance. Children are naturally inquisitive wee things, providing honest answers shouldn't be a problem to any freethinking community.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 23:54:00 UTC | #435235

Beeblebear's Avatar Comment 26 by Beeblebear

School would be the ideal place for this, but Church is invading it's territory.
Maybe School should invade Church's territory?

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 23:55:00 UTC | #435237

Beeblebear's Avatar Comment 27 by Beeblebear

Sorry, a bit late on last comment.

God fearing Atheist

I don't go in for that sort of thing either, but lots of people do and the whole point is that it would be by definition local. That very fact would encourage me to have a go at inviting some of those interesting speakers...

Ignorant Amos

Damn right.

Tue, 26 Jan 2010 00:08:00 UTC | #435243

Crazycharlie's Avatar Comment 28 by Crazycharlie

There's no way I could go along with this. Epstein, whether he realizes it or not, is just mimicking religious ritual like mirandaceleste says. The sight of him standing in front of a group, on a Sunday, reading from a book was kind of silly and a bit creepy.

If these people want to be part of a group there's plenty of other options, forums like this for instance, to answer any social need.

Tue, 26 Jan 2010 00:18:00 UTC | #435247

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 29 by Ignorant Amos

28. Comment #454719 by Crazycharlie

Yes, if modeled on that church going format and it wouldn't suit me either. But I would be lying if I said I wouldn't join in with any group of non-believers that decided to "get together" in my locale. A friday night at the local or a pub quiz team, just to know I wasn't on me own with my views in this town. Hence the reason I come here....a sort of family if you like, more than a congregation.

Tue, 26 Jan 2010 00:26:00 UTC | #435252

squeegee's Avatar Comment 30 by squeegee

Overall I think this is a very positive peice. I don't think I'd feel comfortable gathering with other non believers to celebrate our lack of the supernatural but good luck to them and especially those that go out and help their fellow human [I could certainly get into that as long as it wasn't a "see look at us atheists being lovely people" mentality and was done literally to help those less fortunate.

The times definitely are a changin. It's a great time to be an atheist.

Tue, 26 Jan 2010 00:30:00 UTC | #435253