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Nancy Allen``
08-04-2007, 09:38 PM
I thought this would be an important topic to bring up. Atheism is something that is becoming more and more prevelent, and I'm sure that part of the reason for it would be religiously motivated crimes, Islamic terrorism. Now let me make it clear that there is nothing wrong with not believing in god and religion. However I feel that at times atheists can go from non belief to voicing that there should be no religion, militant atheism or antitheism. So which is it for you? Atheism or antitheism?

Alkonium
08-04-2007, 10:35 PM
It's hard to say. I've seem the flaws of religion, but it has such a hold on the world it's hard to undo the damage. As much as I like to respect other's beliefs, the line between devotion and fanaticism is sometimes hard to see. It seems in the US, that fundamentalists are trying to impose their beliefs on others, which have been disproved by science. Another thing is that they seem to oppose most things I consider to be for what I like to call the greater good. (no, that is not a reference to the Tau from Warhammer 40,000, although they are my preferred race.)

Achilles
08-04-2007, 11:50 PM
I thought this would be an important topic to bring up. Atheism is something that is becoming more and more prevelent, This is an interesting claim. Could you please define for us what "more and more prevalent" means to you? No doubt that the statistics for atheism are slightly higher now than they have been in the past, but it would seem that these numbers are hardly reliable for a multitude of reasons. It entirely conceivable that the actual number of atheists hasn't changed, but people are more comfortable being forthcoming about their personal philosophies today.

and I'm sure that part of the reason for it would be religiously motivated crimes, Islamic terrorism. Just so I'm understanding this correctly, is the argument that religious persecution is causing more people to become atheists? Do you have any evidence to support this or does this simply reflect your perceptions?

Now let me make it clear that there is nothing wrong with not believing in god and religion. However I feel that at times atheists can go from non belief to voicing that there should be no religion... what's wrong with that? It would seem that this would be an exercise protected by the first amendment.

...militant atheism... I'm not sure I know what that is. Could you please expand on this for those of us that have never heard of this before?

...or antitheism. Again, we'll probably need to operationally define this. I know what I think anti-theism is, but I'm not sure what picture that paints for us when you use the term. How would this differ from the concept of atheism for you?

So which is it for you? Atheism or antitheism? Which is what for me?

MdKnightR
08-04-2007, 11:59 PM
Deism for me. I think that many non-religious people would find that they are more in line with Deism than anti-theism or atheism.

Pavlos
08-05-2007, 07:55 AM
I'm an atheist. Just as I have a right not to believe, you have the right to believe. But equally so, provided it doesn't hurt anyone, anti-theists have the same rights and can campaign against religion. It's not a view I particularly agree with but we live in countries where freedom of speech is very much the corner stone of society. But then again, I tend not to think of it too much so perhaps my ideas are underdeveloped.

I do have a friend who is obsessed with anti-theism. He's a nice guy... just don't bring up religion within five miles of him if you want him to be in a good mood. The more seriously someone takes their belief, or lack of belief, the more confrontational - perhaps not the best word but I can't think of any other - they seem to become.

Nancy Allen``
08-05-2007, 08:23 AM
I've provided a link explaining antitheism, that might help.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antitheism

Another thing is that they seem to oppose most things I consider to be for what I like to call the greater good. (no, that is not a reference to the Tau from Warhammer 40,000, although they are my preferred race.)

Stem cell research, abortion (making things such as rape especially vile), I can see what you're saying.

This is an interesting claim. Could you please define for us what "more and more prevalent" means to you?

I'd go with what you're saying about it being more in the open.

Just so I'm understanding this correctly, is the argument that religious persecution is causing more people to become atheists? Do you have any evidence to support this or does this simply reflect your perceptions?

I'd say that hearing people parroting on about religion to justify their atrocities if not cause an incrase in atheism\anti theism then make them refuse to be silent.

what's wrong with that? It would seem that this would be an exercise protected by the first amendment.

It goes along the same lines as making racist comments and anti gay slurs, or...and I'm not saying that it would but words against religion, not just stating there is no god but condemning those who follow it, can lead to action.

I'm not sure I know what that is. Could you please expand on this for those of us that have never heard of this before?

The antitheist stance is sometimes thought of as militant atheism, the same as militant theism. They want to prohibit religion. Antitheism is something from my research on the matter as a more extreme view than that. There's some dispute over how accurate such a term is, but I feel that both are not willing to accept that people are legally entitled to follow religion.

Again, we'll probably need to operationally define this. I know what I think anti-theism is, but I'm not sure what picture that paints for us when you use the term. How would this differ from the concept of atheism for you?

Atheism is simply the non belief of god, where as antitheism is the direct persecution of religion. Something like how pavlos' friend might be, except probably worse off.

Which is what for me?

Do you take the athiest view that there is no god or the antithiest view that religion shouldn't be allowed?

But equally so, provided it doesn't hurt anyone, anti-theists have the same rights and can campaign against religion. It's not a view I particularly agree with but we live in countries where freedom of speech is very much the corner stone of society.

Where does one draw the line however between not believing, or even liking religion, and campaigning against it?

The more seriously someone takes their belief, or lack of belief, the more confrontational - perhaps not the best word but I can't think of any other - they seem to become.

QFT.

stoffe
08-05-2007, 08:56 AM
I thought this would be an important topic to bring up. Atheism is something that is becoming more and more prevelent

Are people classified as atheists if they just don't have a reason to care either way? People for whom religion plays such a small or non-existent part of their lives that they feel they have no more reason to ponder the existence of a god than they'd have to go around and ponder the flaws of the Theory of relativity during a typical day, i.e. a lofty matter that has no direct bearing on them.

Do people who live secular lives with no religious influences and with a total disinterest in religious matters count as atheists?

If so then atheism is clearly spreading in northern Europe. I read somewhere (don't remember where) that since the church and state where separated in my country, and church membership no longer was mandatory the church has been losing roughly 200 000 members/year consistently. Though granted not all of them may do so due to disinterest or lack of beliefs, some may simply switch to other churches or faiths. (It also leaves the question whether people actually where all that much more religious before, or if they simply believed "at gunpoint", so to speak, when Christianity was a state religion and prayer services and such was mandatory at schools throughout the time they grew up.)

As an aside, how about religions that worship no god? Are Buddhists considered atheists since they don't believe in the existence of a god?

Nancy Allen``
08-05-2007, 09:04 AM
I think that ignorance, or indiffirence, alone doesn't make you atheist. As I understand it it's a concious choice that you make the clear decision not to believe or follow religion.

As for Buddhism, apparently it is atheist.

http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/buddhism_atheism.html

Dagobahn Eagle
08-05-2007, 10:15 AM
I thought this would be an important topic to bring up. Atheism is something that is becoming more and more prevelent, and I'm sure that part of the reason for it would be religiously motivated crimes, Islamic terrorism.Possibly. Another big contributor is that rationality and mythologies are incompatible, and that being atheistic leaves you free of dogmatic rules and threats of eternal damnation or reincarnation as something icky.

[...] I feel that at times atheists can go from non belief to voicing that there should be no religion, militant atheism or antitheism. So which is it for you? Atheism or antitheism?Antitheists are atheists, too. Trying to separate the two is like trying to separate North Americans from Canadians. The latter is merely a distinction of the former - one is North American and Canadian, not either-or.

It goes along the same lines as making racist comments and anti gay slurs, or...and I'm not saying that it would but words against religion, not just stating there is no god but condemning those who follow it, can lead to action.I, for one, does not consider religious opinions different from political opinions. I review them with the same critical eye, and if they're found wanting, I discard them. If communism, social democracy, neo-conservatism, or any other ideology doesn't work, I discard it. If Christianity, Wicca, Hinduism or any other religion doesn't hold water, I discard it. Simple as that. I don't 'respect' a non-functional or untrue religious belief more than I 'respect' a faulty political belief.

Sure, disrespect of religion could technically cause people to carry out violence on Christians, Jews, Hindus, Wiccans, Jedi, and Satanists, just as pushing a certain political belief could cause people to start beating up neo-Nazis, communists, anarchists and others. That's an inherent risk. If we were to respect everyone's belief, we'd be utterly incapable of discussing anything.

Person 1. 'I do believe it was a good idea to invade Iraq.'
Person 2. 'But why? Where are the WMDs? What about the civil war now raging there? What about--'
Person 1. 'Oh, for goodness' sake, how disrespectful is it possible to be?! Respect my political faith! Do I go about questioning your politics?!'

I read somewhere (don't remember where) that since the church and state where separated in my country, and church membership no longer was mandatory the church has been losing roughly 200 000 members/year consistently. Though granted not all of them may do so due to disinterest or lack of beliefs, some may simply switch to other churches or faiths.Actually, I'd say many are switching to alternative stuff such as the belief in ghosts, homeopathy, spiritism, channeling, ouji boards, UFOs, and so on. They've discovered that religion is not for them, bu they need something to fulfill their natural 'religious/mysticism drive', and head for the New Age culture.

Jae Onasi
08-05-2007, 11:58 AM
The more seriously someone takes their belief, or lack of belief, the more confrontational - perhaps not the best word but I can't think of any other - they seem to become.

I take my belief pretty seriously, and I'll get into passionate discussions about it with some, but I don't get confrontational with it otherwise. I can't force people to believe or not believe--they have to make that choice themselves, so there's no real point in being confrontational about it. Religious extremists may think they're forcing someone to believe their way, but that doesn't mean the 'convert' truly believes in their heart. I'd rather someone became a Christian because they wanted to share in the love of Christ and a relationship with God, not because they were forced to. Belief happens in the heart, not on the lips.

Pho3nix
08-05-2007, 12:20 PM
Atheism is something that is becoming more and more prevelent, and I'm sure that part of the reason for it would be religiously motivated crimes, Islamic terrorism.
I think the main reason is that science explains more and more natural phenomena that was thought to be 'supernatural' for centuries. There's not much, or no need for a religion that explains how the world works when science helps us understand the truth.

Islamic terrorism and other crimes related with religion have a small effect in my opinion.

I'd rather someone became a Christian because they wanted to share in the love of Christ and a relationship with God, not because they were forced to. Belief happens in the heart, not on the lips.
In a perfect world perhaps. But unfortunately that's not generally the case, Muslim women who denounce their faith might get killed by their own family and there are Christians who are Christian simply because their parents are, and are too afraid to express their own beliefs and perhaps also denounce their faith.

Jae Onasi
08-05-2007, 12:40 PM
I'd rather someone became a Christian because they wanted to share in the love of Christ and a relationship with God, not because they were forced to. Belief happens in the heart, not on the lips.
In a perfect world perhaps. But unfortunately that's not generally the case, Muslim women who denounce their faith might get killed by their own family and there are Christians who are Christian simply because their parents are, and are too afraid to express their own beliefs and perhaps also denounce their faith.

While they may express one faith publicly in order to stay alive or please parents, what they believe internally may be another matter. You can torture and abuse someone into publicly recanting faith of any kind, but whether they've recanted in their hearts or not is another matter. That's what I'm meaning there by not being able to truly force someone to believe or denounce belief.

PoiuyWired
08-05-2007, 01:21 PM
I think that ignorance, or indiffirence, alone doesn't make you atheist. As I understand it it's a concious choice that you make the clear decision not to believe or follow religion.

As for Buddhism, apparently it is atheist.

http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/buddhism_atheism.html

Well, depends on how you see it. IF so then technically I am Atheist. :)

I think that conflicts related to religions does have the adverse effect of reducing people's interest into religion in general.

Simply put, Priests and religious organizations of various religion related (or even not related) to the conflict may have an opinion to what is going on. Such opinion may range from good will mercy to taking sides to smiteing parts of the conflict. Such opinions might be too strong or too weak to some believers.

I won't go as far as to "turning them atheists" but this would surely reduce the interest in religious related activities.

As for militant atheists types, they are just about as annoying as any other types of ideal fanatics like them militant feminists or eco terrorists or religious crusade supporters(no warhammer 40K corpse emperor reference) Basically they are just as bad as things they are trying to condemn, if not worse.

Darth InSidious
08-05-2007, 02:40 PM
Vexen is not a good source. It if fallacious, riddled with holes, and largely made up of empty rhetoric, it seems to me.

I think perhaps the question is one of extremism. What is extremism? I'm not sure, but I think a good guiding principle is that it is the denial of any possibility that you are wrong. When you are an extremist on any subject (be it theology or the mating habits of the average tabby cat), the concept of anyone not seeing things your way requires them to have something wrong with themselves.

As for whether or not disrespect for another's religion could cause violence, rest assured it does, has and will. Disrespect is bred of fear, and many people fear what is alien to them. Such fear creates violence. It doesn't matter what subject causes the fear, whether it be skin colour, or religion, or job, or class, or whatever.

"Where there is ignorance, let us sow understanding..."

Achilles
08-05-2007, 03:20 PM
"Where there is ignorance, let us sow understanding..." QFE

I'd go with what you're saying about it being more in the open. Ok, so atheism itself isn't any more prevalent (as far as we can tell), but the climate is such that more people feel comfortable sharing their views. Done and done.

I'd say that hearing people parroting on about religion to justify their atrocities if not cause an incrase in atheism\anti theism then make them refuse to be silent. So first and foremost, we both acknowledge that this is all conjecture. Even with that out of the way though, I'm still not sure I understanding the argument.

It goes along the same lines as making racist comments and anti gay slurs, or...and I'm not saying that it would but words against religion, not just stating there is no god but condemning those who follow it, can lead to action. Anything can lead to action. Possible vs. Probable once again.

Physicists don't revolt at conferences. Recovering alcholics don't riot and start trashing liquor stores after AA meetings. I'm not sure why it is I should make the leap into the belief that atheists are going to start burning down churches just because they tend to agree that religion does more harm than good.

The antitheist stance is sometimes thought of as militant atheism, the same as militant theism. They want to prohibit religion. Antitheism is something from my research on the matter as a more extreme view than that. There's some dispute over how accurate such a term is, but I feel that both are not willing to accept that people are legally entitled to follow religion. I think the dispute stems from the fact that these terms are usually applied to atheists by theists.

This entire enterprise sounds contrived.

Atheism is simply the non belief of god, where as antitheism is the direct persecution of religion. I would tend to disagree with that definition, but you can define the terms how ever you would like.

Here's what the model looks like it my head:

Atheism - a lack of belief in a god or gods.
Anti-theism - a belief that there is no god/are no gods.
Militant atheism - an atheist doctrine that supports the persecution of theists and/or theism.

Personally, I feel that this is a little less convoluted and does a good job of matching terms with the concepts that they represent. But this is only my opinion.

Do you take the athiest view that there is no god or the antithiest view that religion shouldn't be allowed? I take the view that there is no rational argument for the existence of god, therefore there is no rational reason to believe that he/she/it/they exist. Furthermore, since religious doctrine is frequently violent and promotes intolerance, I feel that the spread of religion should be stopped via dialog and education.

tk102
08-05-2007, 04:10 PM
Ok, so atheism itself isn't any more prevalent (as far as we can tell), but the climate is such that more people feel comfortable sharing their views.With our unprecedented ability to communicate instantly, I would certainly say that was one factor. The internet has given us freedom to voice our beliefs (anonymously if we prefer). Atheism has particularly benefited from this since it is by nature decentralized. There is no atheistic church that people go to visit on Sundays as part of a community, but the internet now fills that role. Heh heh, look at Kavar's Corner and the Senate Chambers. :p

But additionally, the rise of scientific progress going back at least to the Age of Enlightenment, has answered a number of unanswerable questions that heretofore only religion could address. What is our place in the universe? How did the earth form? Where did life come from? What is the nature of the mind? It seems to me that religious explanations for these are having to cede ground to scientific explanations now more than ever before.

For these two reasons, both technologically based, I would conjecture to say there is more atheism today in the world than ever before.

Achilles
08-05-2007, 04:17 PM
If we're going back to the Enlightenment, or even to the rise of homo sapien sapien, then there can be little doubt. If we're going back to the 1950's however, I'm probably going to want to split hairs a little. Since Nancy didn't provide much in the way of context, I've been left to fumble around in the dark whilst trying to determine what she means by "more and more prevalent". Sorry for any confusion.

tk102
08-05-2007, 04:23 PM
Really, you think there were as many atheists per capita today as in the 1950's? "In God We Trust" became the national motto of the USA in 1956. Plus I think of McCarthyism and its fight against those "godless communists". Billy Graham began making waves back then. Christianity Today magazine was started.

Granted, that's a pretty USA-centric viewpoint.

TK-8252
08-05-2007, 05:11 PM
Personally, I don't understand why the word "antitheism" even exists. You never hear the word "protheism" do you? If there's an anti, there has to be a pro. What, do you call evangelical Christians or fundamentalist Muslims "protheists" instead of "monotheists?"

And I've never understood this claim of "militant atheism." When was the last time an atheist blew up a church, or murdered a preacher, in the name of atheism? Never.

Pavlos
08-05-2007, 06:36 PM
Where does one draw the line however between not believing, or even liking religion, and campaigning against it?

I don't believe, but I don't choose to campaign and spread my views. To me, religion - or lack of - is very much a private issue, which is basically the traditional view in Britain; heck, the Church of England is essentially a secular institution - confession was replaced with having tea and cakes with the vicar, God is the ultimate good chap, and being a nice guy is pretty much as good as canonisation.

I don't really see why anyone needs to campaign on religious views... I mean, they have the right in a free society but it seems a bit pointless - no one will believe what they are forced to say they believe.

Achilles
08-05-2007, 08:35 PM
Really, you think there were as many atheists per capita today as in the 1950's? "In God We Trust" became the national motto of the USA in 1956. Plus I think of McCarthyism and its fight against those "godless communists". Billy Graham began making waves back then. Christianity Today magazine was started.

Granted, that's a pretty USA-centric viewpoint.Actually, I probably wouldn't venture a guess either way. My argument has been that we really can't really tell because there are too many variables and a great many of them are unknown.

My point in the last post was that I would probably wager a guess that numbers haven't changed as significantly over the past 50 years as they have over the past 400.

If you wanted to say that there are a lot more atheists today than in the 1700's, I'd say you're probably right. If you wanted to say that there are a lot more atheists today than in the 1950's, I'd say you could be right, but you could be wrong, and either way you're guessing.

@TK-8252 - Amen, brotha. I don't understand why we need the term "atheism". We don't have a term for people that don't believe in UFO abduction or people that don't believe in fairies. Seems asinine that we need a term for people that don't believe in god.

PoiuyWired
08-06-2007, 01:29 PM
Well, on the other aspact of OP's topic, people do seem to spend less of their time in religious related activities, simply there are more other stuff to do. Simply put, life is a bit less simple relative to those "goold old days" considering there are many more activities one can engage in relative to religious activities.

Another thing is that since the world is more open than what it was "way back" in most places, people are exposed to more versions of different viewpoints. People probably move around places more often, and are exposed to different cultures, either physically or thru different media. In short, people are given more choices.

Another thing is, well, science give us the answer of many things that are only seen as mystical in the past. We know that thunderstorms are not caused by spirits dancing upon the clouds, invisible angels do not hold the birds up in the sky, and the planet earth is definitely not flat. This might have severe impact to some religious sects that would cling onto the old religious explanations of things as definite truth fanatically disregarding anything else to be "evil's work" Things like creation stories and mystical misinformation of the world would more or less fall into this group in a way.

I mean, we know that there is no fiant dome in the sky where the clouds stuck onto, and if I fly east/west continuously I would go around the plenat and not fall down the abyss into hell. But there are some sects of some religions that would still strongly clings onto such things, and that might put off some believers.

Jae Onasi
08-06-2007, 11:47 PM
@TK-8252 - Amen, brotha. I don't understand why we need the term "atheism". We don't have a term for people that don't believe in UFO abduction or people that don't believe in fairies. Seems asinine that we need a term for people that don't believe in god.

"The Glyphs formerly known as Atheists"

:xp:

Achilles
08-07-2007, 12:21 AM
"The Glyphs formerly known as Atheists"

:xp: Sweet. I've always wanted to be replaced by a symbol. :D

Seriously though. We don't have terms for other natural states. It seems rather bizarre to me that we do for this one.

We should start a list of all the other natural states that need a term to distinguish them from non-natural states.

Jae Onasi
08-07-2007, 12:54 AM
Well, UFO and faerie believers call the rest of us all non-believers. Atheism is just a fancier term for 'non-believer in God'. People who don't believe in God are going to get called something, and 'atheism' is a lot shorter than 'people who don't believe in God'.

Achilles
08-07-2007, 02:26 AM
Well, UFO and faerie believers call the rest of us all non-believers. Atheism is just a fancier term for 'non-believer in God'. People who don't believe in God are going to get called something, and 'atheism' is a lot shorter than 'people who don't believe in God'. Right, but before those people adopted beliefs in UFO and/or fairies, they didn't have a belief either way. They didn't come out of the womb believing in UFOs or fairies; it was a belief they acquired during their lifetime. When they adopted the belief they gained the label. It seems a little weird that we have a term for someone that goes back to that initial state (or never leaves it in the first place).

Nancy Allen``
08-07-2007, 08:11 AM
Is there something you would rather be called? Or not called anything at all? Any ideas?

Jae Onasi
08-07-2007, 10:27 AM
Right, but before those people adopted beliefs in UFO and/or fairies, they didn't have a belief either way. They didn't come out of the womb believing in UFOs or fairies; it was a belief they acquired during their lifetime. When they adopted the belief they gained the label. It seems a little weird that we have a term for someone that goes back to that initial state (or never leaves it in the first place).

The difference is that we have an innate sense of God from birth. We don't have an innate sense of UFOs. Take a lightswitch analogy--you're saying the belief switch is there or it's not. I'm saying the belief lightswitch is either on or off, but it's always been there. Hence the reason and need for the atheist term.

Getting people to drop the term now is about as possible as you dropping atheism and me dropping theism anyway. :) People simply aren't going to stop using it since it's too much a part of culture. Besides, it sounds better than something like 'raniskran' or 'fanortner'.

Achilles
08-07-2007, 11:06 AM
The difference is that we have an innate sense of God from birth. Source?

We don't have an innate sense of UFOs. Was this taken from the same poll where we asked babies about their innate sense of god?

Take a lightswitch analogy--you're saying the belief switch is there or it's not. I'm saying the belief lightswitch is either on or off, but it's always been there. Hence the reason and need for the atheist term. Ah, so it's your opinion then?

Getting people to drop the term now is about as possible as you dropping atheism and me dropping theism anyway. :) Ah, but theism isn't a natural state though. It's a belief that aquired via enculturation. So it's not the same thing.

People simply aren't going to stop using it since it's too much a part of culture. If I recall correctly, my suggestion was that we started a list of other natural states that need "non" terms. I agree that stopping it probably isn't very realistic.

Besides, it sounds better than something like 'raniskran' or 'fanortner'. No doubt :p

Jae Onasi
08-07-2007, 01:45 PM
Source?

Was this taken from the same poll where we asked babies about their innate sense of god?

Ah, so it's your opinion then?
Absolutely, since you don't consider any theological sources as relevant. :D You've undoubtedly watched your kids get upset over very basic wrongs when they were very little e.g. someone taking someone's toys, my son got upset at another kid for pushing a little girl down, that kind of thing that doesn't have a good evolutionary explanation, but does have a good explanation if you include God giving us a basic knowledge of good/evil.

Ah, but theism isn't a natural state though. It's a belief that aquired via enculturation. So it's not the same thing.
Source? No Dawkins, please, he and other antitheists are too biased.

If I recall correctly, my suggestion was that we started a list of other natural states that need "non" terms. I agree that stopping it probably isn't very realistic.


Anti-UFOarians
Afaerieists
Nonflyingspaghettimonsterists
The possibilities are endless!!

@TK-8252--at the risk of causing another eruption of the Mao/Stalin hate-fest, these men did systematically exterminate people solely for their belief in God, and tortured others until they recanted God. Their goal was an atheistic communist state. Regardless of whether their motivation was perfect communism or atheism--and the two can't be separated since communist doctrine requires one to be atheist in the first place in order to also be communist--they still killed many specifically because of their theism and for no other reason. Their basis is Marx's statement: "The suppression of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the premise of its real happiness."

Lenin mentions in this writing (http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/12.htm) , views which Stalin shared: "These masses should be supplied with the most
varied atheist propaganda material, they should be made familiar with facts
from the most diverse spheres of life, they should be approached in every
possible way, so as to interest them, rouse them from their religious
torpor, stir them from the most varied angles and by the most varied
methods, and so forth." and "In the second place, such a journal must be a militant atheist organ. We have departments, or at least state institutions, which are in charge of this work. But the work is being carried on with extreme apathy and very unsatisfactorily, and is apparently suffering from the general conditions of our truly Russian (even though Soviet) bureaucratic ways. It is therefore highly essential that in addition to the work of these state institutions, and in order to improve and infuse life into that work, a journal which sets out to propagandise militant materialism must carry on untiring atheist propaganda and an untiring atheist fight. The literature on the subject in all languages should be carefully followed and everything at all valuable in this sphere should be translated, or at least reviewed."

Boris Souvarine's history (http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/souvar/works/stalin/ch09.htm) of Stalin stated: "Official irreligion was transformed into systematic de-Christianisation by violence: churches of the various faiths were closed and demolished or taken over, as were chapels and monasteries, sacred books were seized, and proselytism forbidden, icons were burnt and priests deported or condemned to death. Under pretext of a militant materialism, by methods which were a caricature, adults suspected of "idealism" were forcibly inculcuated with atheism, which was already obligatory in the schools."

Mao said (http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-8/mswv8_48.htm): "Firstly, we will conduct a struggle to criticize thoroughly and eradicate completely his erroneous ideology. Secondly, we will help him. One, to struggle; two, to help. Starting from this, we will help him to correct his mistakes so that he will have a way out. It will be different to treat another type of people. People like Tito and China’s own Ch’en Tu-hsiu. Toward them there is no way to adopt a helpful attitude, because they are beyond remedy. People like Hitler, Chiang Kai-shek and the Czars are also incorrigible and there is nothing to do but knock them down. This is because, as far as we are concerned, they are not of a dual nature, but of a sole nature. In the final analysis, it is also like this with regard to the imperialist and capitalist systems. In the end, they will certainly be displaced by the socialist system. The same with ideology. We will substitute materialism for idealism and atheism for theism. This is strategically speaking"

When a fundamental part of a political philosophy is entire removal of religion from culture and society because it's just 'the opium of the masses', why is there a persistent disbelief among atheists that these men did _not_ persecute Christians and other theists purely for religious purposes? Atheism may have been a part of a larger political viewpoint, but it still was a significant part for these men. Artificially separating these two is like artificially separating the nucleus from the cell.

SilentScope001
08-07-2007, 02:09 PM
We have an innate sense of believing in no God.

We also have an innate sense of believing that if you want food, you cry. We also have an innate senes of believing that crawling is awesome. We have an innate sense of believing that our parents are #1. We have an innate sense of eating anything in our path, including Legos (they're tasty, why not eat it).

Just because we got an innate sense of something does not mean it's "right". We're talking about a baby here! Do we ask babies about gravity? Babies don't believe in gravity either, therefore, we must naturally assume that gravity does not exist, since being natural is so great.

Pavlos
08-07-2007, 02:10 PM
Absolutely, since you don't consider any theological sources as relevant. :D You've undoubtedly watched your kids get upset over very basic wrongs when they were very little e.g. someone taking someone's toys, my son got upset at another kid for pushing a little girl down, that kind of thing that doesn't have a good evolutionary explanation, but does have a good explanation if you include God giving us a basic knowledge of good/evil.

Actually... with social animals like humans an innate sense of morality is perfectly explainable without bringing a god into the equation. The first reason is that ethics and morality are very much social constructs, things taught from an early age to a child - I very much doubt that cannibals on small islands in the middle of the Pacific think what they are doing is wrong.

The second: let's take a small society, a village in the middle of a forest. In this village, everyone lies - to further their own ends, they lie about (let's say) where food is, keeping it all a secret. This breeds a society where one person has everything and the rest are starving. That one person will benefit but when the rest die due to malnourishment then the community, and the protection gained from such a community will be stripped away - leaving the person unable to breed and without protection. The same is true of hurting others, or killing them - it removes the group and thus destroys the individual. Initially, being selfish or cruel is advantageous and that person's genes will be selected for, but once we reach a stage where more and more people are greedy, or evil, then it is disadvantageous and the genes are removed from the pool - likely taking others with them, if they destroy communities.

Selfishness does exist because when it is a small fraction of the population, as it is today, it's an advantage. Or, at least, this is my understanding of it.

Prime
08-07-2007, 02:16 PM
Absolutely, since you don't consider any theological sources as relevant. :D You've undoubtedly watched your kids get upset over very basic wrongs when they were very little e.g. someone taking someone's toys, my son got upset at another kid for pushing a little girl down, that kind of thing that doesn't have a good evolutionary explanation, but does have a good explanation if you include God giving us a basic knowledge of good/evil. What age are you talking about here? Are you saying that a child who (somehow) grew up without any teaching from others about what is right and wrong would inherently know about it?

tk102
08-07-2007, 03:24 PM
The difference is that we have an innate sense of God from birth.
Source?
The God Gene (http://www.amazon.com/God-Gene-Faith-Hardwired-Genes/dp/0385500580)? (somewhat dubious)


Ah, but theism isn't a natural state though. It's a belief that aquired via enculturation. So it's not the same thing.
Source? No Dawkins, pleaseTarzan of the Apes?


>_> oh? what's that? not helping? ...

Dagobahn Eagle
08-07-2007, 04:02 PM
Are you saying that a child who (somehow) grew up without any teaching from others about what is right and wrong would inherently know about it?
Yes. Altruism and morals are inherent in many species in the animal kingdom, including humans. The evolutionary explanation is that as humans are pack animals and such form societies, and societies with more well-behaved, kind citizens are better than those without altruism and kindness, natural selection has held onto moral instincts, which are then passed down from generation to generation.

PoiuyWired
08-07-2007, 04:10 PM
Absolutely, since you don't consider any theological sources as relevant. :D You've undoubtedly watched your kids get upset over very basic wrongs when they were very little e.g. someone taking someone's toys, my son got upset at another kid for pushing a little girl down, that kind of thing that doesn't have a good evolutionary explanation, but does have a good explanation if you include God giving us a basic knowledge of good/evil.

Anti-UFOarians
Afaerieists
Nonflyingspaghettimonsterists
The possibilities are endless!!


To be fair spirit(faerie) believer and such are just people beliving in spirits, which is about the oldest kind of belief system(or basis of) out there. Though having a belief does not always lead to theism.

As for the "kids get upset" are the kids getting upset due to its "wrongness" or simply due to the fact of "conflict"? Its like, often kids would get upset while people are argueing, while argueing might not be a wrong thing.

And yes, as said, even if kids do have an innate sense of right/wrong this does not help on the theism/atheism/etc issue. Since innate goodnes(or badness) can also be explaines in an "atheist belief system" like buddhism etc, or even the "alien ant farm" / "the sims" theory..

Achilles
08-07-2007, 05:39 PM
Absolutely, since you don't consider any theological sources as relevant. :D I consider any source that can make a sound argument relevant.

You've undoubtedly watched your kids get upset over very basic wrongs when they were very little e.g. someone taking someone's toys, my son got upset at another kid for pushing a little girl down, that kind of thing that doesn't have a good evolutionary explanation, but does have a good explanation if you include God giving us a basic knowledge of good/evil. How much time did you spend researching evolutionary behavior before coming to that conclusion? It would seem that you've taken two options, neither of which well-researched by you, and then declared the one that you deemed less incredulous the winner. I realize that happens all over the world every day, but that you think that should be sufficient for us is almost insulting.

Source? No Dawkins, please, he and other antitheists are too biased. Wiki on enculturation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enculturation).
The information here is a great primer. Unfortunately, all the other sources I could find are academic (apparently there isn't a great demand for leisure reading on anthropology and sociology).


Anti-UFOarians
Afaerieists
Nonflyingspaghettimonsterists
The possibilities are endless!! We'll probably need more help then.

@TK-8252--at the risk of causing another eruption of the Mao/Stalin hate-fest, these men did systematically exterminate people solely for their belief in God, and tortured others until they recanted God. Their goal was an atheistic communist state. Regardless of whether their motivation was perfect communism or atheism--and the two can't be separated since communist doctrine requires one to be atheist in the first place in order to also be communist--they still killed many specifically because of their theism and for no other reason. Their basis is Marx's statement: "The suppression of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the premise of its real happiness." Jae, you have a communist doctrine that promotes violent revolution and persecution of theism. Until you can I identify an atheist doctrine that also promotes these values, your argument is completely without merit.

The God Gene (http://www.amazon.com/God-Gene-Faith-Hardwired-Genes/dp/0385500580)? (somewhat dubious) I had an opportunity to listen to the author speak the other week on The God Show (gotta love local right-wing radio programming). Unfortunately, his argument, like so many other faux-scientific/religious arguments, is based almost entirely on the goddunit principle. For those unfamiliar with the goddunit principle, it is where theists observe something in nature, spend about 2 seconds thinking about it, and then naturally conclude that since they (being the pinnacle of human thought and understanding) cannot determine the cause, then there is no other possible explanation other than "god-dun-it".

Darth InSidious
08-07-2007, 05:53 PM
Sweet. I've always wanted to be replaced by a symbol. :D

Seriously though. We don't have terms for other natural states. It seems rather bizarre to me that we do for this one.

We should start a list of all the other natural states that need a term to distinguish them from non-natural states.

Agnosticism (actual agnosticism - the position that at present we cannot know either way to a satisfactory degree) is the default position, because it relies upon a relative, contingent truth. Your position requires investment of belief, or whatever synonym you would like to dress it up in.

Achilles
08-07-2007, 06:17 PM
I think you may be confusing "natural position" with "neutral position".

No doubt that agnosticism tends to be completely neutral (within the specific context of evidence) to the question of god, but before the position of neutrality could be adopted the question first had to be posed, thereby leaving the natural position which is atheism.

Crahsystor
08-07-2007, 07:03 PM
Absolutely, since you don't consider any theological sources as relevant. :D You've undoubtedly watched your kids get upset over very basic wrongs when they were very little e.g. someone taking someone's toys, my son got upset at another kid for pushing a little girl down, that kind of thing that doesn't have a good evolutionary explanation, but does have a good explanation if you include God giving us a basic knowledge of good/evil.

The belief in God and the belief in good/evil are two totally different beliefs and each can occur independently without the other.

As for the natural feeling of good/evil – it can be easily explained through a variety of theories that do not involve God. The most simple explanation is that we humans are social creatures and to successfully cooperate in a group a certain level of altruism and compassion for your fellow man is needed. Also be mindful that to function in a stable way a society has to have common ethical values. The more ethical discrepancies and moral arguments, the less stable and thus weaker the society becomes (vide the end of the medieval period in Europe or China in the 1920s).
Stable, altruistic and yet competitive societies are generally more successful in adapting to changing conditions and thus become more widespread and dominant.
Religion is one but not the only way of creating and maintaining such a stable society.
There is no "basic knowledge of good and evil". Some beliefs (such as the belief that murder is an act of evil) are widespread among the vast majority of human cultures because they proved to be beneficial for the society and thus easier and more commonly accepted.

Darth InSidious
08-08-2007, 02:59 AM
I think you may be confusing "natural position" with "neutral position".

No doubt that agnosticism tends to be completely neutral (within the specific context of evidence) to the question of god, but before the position of neutrality could be adopted the question first had to be posed, thereby leaving the natural position which is atheism.
Yep, misread your post >.<

So what do you define as the 'natural position'? The natural position on heliocentricism is aheliocentricism. The natural position on dark matter is antidarkmatterism. The natural position on bacteria is abacterialism. A natural position is therefore only existent if its the uninformed position, and while I've criticised you in the past, uninformed you aren't, and so you are investing this position with belief (or other synonym you prefer), by saying that it IS the correct answer to the question which you have posed to yourself. On a scale, you would be at about -99, an agnostic at 0, etc.

PoiuyWired
08-08-2007, 03:37 AM
The belief in God and the belief in good/evil are two totally different beliefs and each can occur independently without the other.



QFE, SENSE of good/evil does not prove/disprove different sides of the argument.

Achilles
08-08-2007, 03:50 AM
So what do you define as the 'natural position'? Regarding religious belief? Atheism.
Religious belief is acquired via enculturation. Hence why you tend to see children raised to be muslim in muslim countries, christians in christian countries, etc. The child did not spring forth from the womb with any religious beliefs whatsoever, however he or she will very probably adopt the religious beliefs of his or her parents or whatever other powerful influences exist within the culture they are exposed to.

The natural position on heliocentricism is aheliocentricism. The natural position on dark matter is antidarkmatterism. The natural position on bacteria is abacterialism. I don't know that I would agree with tacking an "a" onto the beginning of random words and then calling that the "natural position".

I think in the interest of making a witty point, you may have missed the gist of my argument.

Let's assume for a moment that life exists only on the planet earth. Based on that assumption we can say that every single thing in this universe, except about 54% of human beings, exists without belief in the abrahamic god. But we feel the need to have a term that encompasses everything that doesn't fall under that umbrella. I think that passes the asinine test. :xp:

A natural position is therefore only existent if its the uninformed position, Hmmm...not sure how much I agree with that one. Odds are good that you are aware of the former existence of Elvis Presley. Furthermore, I'm assuming that you are aware that there are people that believe that his death was faked and that he's still alive. Do you feel the need to classify yourself as "non elvis faked death believer"? Or do you think it's more reasonable people that choose to adopt such a belief bear the label while you remain label-free? Is it reasonable to say that your status is the "natural" one? Would you lose your "natural" status the moment that you learned that a man named Elvis Presley once lived or would you retain it even though you were now "informed"?

and while I've criticised you in the past, uninformed you aren't, Thank you for the compliment. I'm very glad to know that you and I can disagree without questioning one another's intelligence.

and so you are investing this position with belief (or other synonym you prefer), by saying that it IS the correct answer to the question which you have posed to yourself. On a scale, you would be at about -99, an agnostic at 0, etc. I'm struggling with this section, so I'm going to respond and hope that I'm correctly taking your meaning.

I would tend to disagree. To continue with the dead Elvis analogy:

Your model (above) would imply that someone that said "Well I think it's possible that Elvis is alive and I think it is equally possible that Elvis is dead. There is insufficient proof for me to make a decision either way" is at 0. I would say that this person could not be at 0 because they have left the "natural" state by at least partially accepting the possibility of Elvis continued life. Where that puts them, I don't know but it isn't 0.

Someone that made a statement like "I hate Elvis. I know he's dead and I'm glad he's gone" would be a -99.

Someone that said "There isn't enough evidence to convince me that Elvis is still alive, therefore I do not accept your claim" is at 0.

Hope I was on the right track there.

Prime
08-09-2007, 11:01 PM
For those unfamiliar with the goddunit principle, it is where theists observe something in nature, spend about 2 seconds thinking about it, and then naturally conclude that since they (being the pinnacle of human thought and understanding) cannot determine the cause, then there is no other possible explanation other than "god-dun-it".You mean like this? (http://youtube.com/watch?v=2z-OLG0KyR4)

Achilles
08-09-2007, 11:22 PM
Crap! Never heard "the banana argument" before.

*skulks off to reconsider his worldview*

Prime
08-10-2007, 09:16 AM
Crap! Never heard "the banana argument" before.

*skulks off to reconsider his worldview*Before you do, you might want to watch this first. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=yArPNtiQDcM) :)

PoiuyWired
08-10-2007, 12:47 PM
<snap>
Thank you for the compliment. I'm very glad to know that you and I can disagree without questioning one another's intelligence.

I'm struggling with this section, so I'm going to respond and hope that I'm correctly taking your meaning.

I would tend to disagree. To continue with the dead Elvis analogy:

Your model (above) would imply that someone that said "Well I think it's possible that Elvis is alive and I think it is equally possible that Elvis is dead. There is insufficient proof for me to make a decision either way" is at 0. I would say that this person could not be at 0 because they have left the "natural" state by at least partially accepting the possibility of Elvis continued life. Where that puts them, I don't know but it isn't 0.

Someone that made a statement like "I hate Elvis. I know he's dead and I'm glad he's gone" would be a -99.

Someone that said "There isn't enough evidence to convince me that Elvis is still alive, therefore I do not accept your claim" is at 0.

Hope I was on the right track there.

I think the mathmetical model used in this theory is problematic.

Ok, lets still define "Almost Total Believe in Theory" as positive, and for simplicity we keep it at the 100 scale. (don't want to get into infinity argument)
lets Define "Almost Total Disbelieve in Theory" as negative.

So surely a "believity" of 0 would be neutral, but not everyone can be fitted into a number in this scale.

Lets use the Elvis Example again.

if you ask "Do you Believe in Elvis being Alive?"
and Chuck answers "Who Is Elvis?"
Then Chuck's "Believity" on the case of "Elvis is Alive" is NOT ZERO.

His lack of knowledge of WHO IS ELVIS and the whole idea of "Elvis is Alive" would mean that his standing on this "Believity" attribute being UNDEFINED, or NULLITY.

To get a reading on Chuck first he has to have at least some knowledge of who Elvis is. And with these Chuck can formulate his own judgement, logically or not, via the information/misinformation he recieves.

Furthermore the "Accuracy/error margain" of Chuck's view on the "Elvis is Alive" issue would be affacted by the amount of information/misinformation he recieves related(or anti-related) to the matter.


If the sole knowledge of Chuck's information on Elvis is "Elvis is a Male Human" then any decision made by Chuck on the matter would have a huge margain of error.

Margain or error plays quite a significant role, representing the thinking process and change of mind over an issue, due to things of small relations to the preceieved viewpoint, hence margain of error. So, a person that is 75 on the scale shoudl be represented as 75+/- x. Where x being a number for the margain of error.

Take this statement borrowed from above "Well I think it's possible that Elvis is alive and I think it is equally possible that Elvis is dead. There is insufficient proof for me to make a decision either way"

The above sentence is close to 0. Yes, close to 0 does not really have to mean 0. It is more like a Zero-ish, like 0 +/- x. Where x would be his margain of error. Well, I am not saying it is impossable for x to be 0, but since the human mind is fluid and ever-thinking, and a person's viewpoint on one matter can be affected by things most seemingly unrelated(kinda like butterfly effect) the state of 0 on the scale in at best a event that exists on a split second(or whatever minure time scale you would like to use)

So, yes the unnatural state of an unknown matter is not 0, but undefined, Nullity, and being completely neutral is a split second event at best, though one can stay "Relatively Neutral" for a long time, with varying degree reguarding to margain of error, depending on the easiness to sway the person's believe for the instant.

Achilles
08-10-2007, 02:09 PM
I think the mathmetical model used in this theory is problematic. Wow...you really put a lot of time into this post.

Ok, lets still define "Almost Total Believe in Theory" as positive, and for simplicity we keep it at the 100 scale. (don't want to get into infinity argument)
lets Define "Almost Total Disbelieve in Theory" as negative. (emphasis mine).
We certainly can, but I don't know that we should. The opposite or inverse of 100 is -100, not 0. Therefore, the inverse of complete acceptance of the theory is the complete rejection of the theory, not an absence of belief about the theory.


if you ask "Do you Believe in Elvis being Alive?"
and Chuck answers "Who Is Elvis?"
Then Chuck's "Believity" on the case of "Elvis is Alive" is NOT ZERO. Why not?

His lack of knowledge of WHO IS ELVIS and the whole idea of "Elvis is Alive" would mean that his standing on this "Believity" attribute being UNDEFINED, or NULLITY. In other words it would be zero.

To get a reading on Chuck first he has to have at least some knowledge of who Elvis is. And with these Chuck can formulate his own judgement, logically or not, via the information/misinformation he recieves. And what if chuck is never approached about it in the first place? What if chuck was born in the 1800's and died before anyone had ever heard of Elvis? Where would he be on the scale?

Totenkopf
08-10-2007, 06:20 PM
Actually, the natural state is one of abject ignorance (ie tabula rasa). Atheism, as many of you cling to it, is not in fact a natural state, but one whereupon you've come to a conclusion that there is insufficient material evidence to underpin anything resembling a rational postion backing the existence of a supernatural being. You might as well say that we're amathematical (asocial, etc..) at birth as well. If you wish to equate atheism w/abject ignorance, I'll not argue with you. ;)

Nancy Allen``
08-10-2007, 06:21 PM
Just because he never heard of The King doesn't mean he never existed. Did you know that Jessica Evan is a Senior Constable in Geelong before I told you? Does that make her existence any less valid?

Achilles
08-10-2007, 06:38 PM
Just because he never heard of The King doesn't mean he never existed. Whether or not he existed in completely irrelevant to the point, considering that Elvis is merely being used as an example.

If someone is born and lives their entire life without ever hearing of Elvis (i.e. died before the 1950's, lives in a third world country, is dead, blind, and mute, dies of SIDS at age 2, etc) then they will never have had a belief, one way or another, regarding the possibility that Elvis' death was faked.

Nancy Allen``
08-10-2007, 06:42 PM
Would you care to explain to me exactly how his existence is irrelevent? The fact that he did and the topic is on whether or not people know about him would give credibility to his existence would make it most relevent, wouldn't it?

Achilles
08-10-2007, 09:18 PM
Would you care to explain to me exactly how his existence is irrelevent? The fact that he did and the topic is on whether or not people know about him would give credibility to his existence would make it most relevent, wouldn't it? Because the topic is natural states and belief. Elvis is an example, not the topic.

Jae Onasi
08-11-2007, 12:02 AM
Actually, the natural state is one of abject ignorance (ie tabula rasa). Atheism, as many of you cling to it, is not in fact a natural state, but one whereupon you've come to a conclusion that there is insufficient material evidence to underpin anything resembling a rational postion backing the existence of a supernatural being. You might as well say that we're amathematical (asocial, etc..) at birth as well. If you wish to equate atheism w/abject ignorance, I'll not argue with you. ;)

Heh....

I would agree that you have to make a conscious decision one way or another on belief. Babies don't have the capacity to believe or not believe--they're not cognitively developed enough to understand. Lack of knowledge does not equate with lack of belief. You have to know what you're choosing to disbelieve, after all.

Because the topic is natural states and belief. Elvis is an example, not the topic.
True. If anyone wants to talk Elvis, it'd be better to start a thread on that in Ahto.

Totenkopf
08-11-2007, 02:54 AM
Does that mean that Elvis has left this building? :xp:

PoiuyWired
08-11-2007, 03:19 AM
Well Yeah the whole Evlis thing is just a more "Daily life" example for the topic.

But yes, the point is, you have to understand/misunderstand an idea inorder to have a believe/disbelieve on the idea.

To use a more silly example here is an idea "In Antartica, People Eat only Snow"

To have an opinion of anything about this statement the idea of "Antartica" and "Snow" have to be understood/misunderstood. If not, then the "natural state" for believe on such a statement would be Nullity/undefined.

So yes, The DEFINITION of God have to be understood/misunderstood before one can be called a Theist/Atheist, otherwise its jut Ignorance.

Achilles
08-11-2007, 03:47 AM
Babies don't have the capacity to believe or not believe--they're not cognitively developed enough to understand. What would you call them then?

Lack of knowledge does not equate with lack of belief. So you can believe something you don't know about?

You have to know what you're choosing to disbelieve, after all. And before that you'd be in a natural state, wouldn't you? In other words, where would you be before you made a choice?

But yes, the point is, you have to understand/misunderstand an idea inorder to have a believe/disbelieve on the idea. No doubt. But how would label a lack of belief? It's not the same thing as a disbelief.

So yes, The DEFINITION of God have to be understood/misunderstood before one can be called a Theist/Atheist, otherwise its jut Ignorance. Considering that no one can prove that god exists, let alone consistently define him, it would seem that you'd categorize theists as ignorant.

Jae Onasi
08-13-2007, 09:45 AM
Jae, you have a communist doctrine that promotes violent revolution and persecution of theism. Until you can I identify an atheist doctrine that also promotes these values, your argument is completely without merit.


I provided you specific and direct proof that these men's stated intent was to eliminate religion, with any means necessary. They were atheists who committed great injustice. You must be atheist in order to be communist; the two are entirely inseparable. Your separation of atheism from communism is entirely artificial and false.

With your logic, then the Crusades were nothing more than a war to establish trade routes and build territories that happened to be OK'd by a religious organization. Blame therefore cannot be placed on religion.

You can't have it both ways.

Achilles
08-13-2007, 11:07 AM
I provided you specific and direct proof that these men's stated intent was to eliminate religion, with any means necessary. I remember you saying that. What you've yet to do is tie either of these events to an atheistic doctrine. Considering that there isn't one, this is going to be a huge obstacle for your argument.

They were atheists who committed great injustice. You must be atheist in order to be communist; the two are entirely inseparable. Your separation of atheism from communism is entirely artificial and false. Even if I were to accept this as true, I don't know what bearing it would have on the conversation. There are communist communities in existence today that don't starve each other to death.

The actions of these men were consistent with dogmatic regimes of every shape, size, and flavor. You seem to be purposely ignoring the obvious and supportable causal relationship in some sort of desparate attempt to convince us that we should adopt a perspective not supported by a causal relationship. What is your motive for this, Jae?

With your logic, then the Crusades were nothing more than a war to establish trade routes and build territories that happened to be OK'd by a religious organization. Blame therefore cannot be placed on religion.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

The Crusades were expeditions undertaken, in fulfilment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from Mohammedan tyranny.
<snip>
Since the Middle Ages the meaning of the word crusade has been extended to include all wars undertaken in pursuance of a vow, and directed against infidels, i.e. against Mohammedans, pagans, heretics, or those under the ban of excommunication.
<snip>
The idea of the crusade corresponds to a political conception which was realized in Christendom only from the eleventh to the fifteenth century; this supposes a union of all peoples and sovereigns under the direction of the popes. All crusades were announced by preaching. After pronouncing a solemn vow, each warrior received a cross from the hands of the pope or his legates, and was thenceforth considered a soldier of the Church. Crusaders were also granted indulgences and temporal privileges, such as exemption from civil jurisdiction, inviolability of persons or lands, etc. Of all these wars undertaken in the name of Christendom, the most important were the Eastern Crusades, which are the only ones treated in this article.
From wikipedia:
The Crusades were a series of military conflicts of a religious character waged by Christians during 1095–1291, most of which were sanctioned by the Pope in the name of Christendom. The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the sacred "Holy Land" from Muslim rule and were originally launched in response to a call from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuq dynasty into Anatolia.
<snip>
The term is also used to describe contemporaneous and subsequent campaigns conducted through to the 16th century in territories outside the Levant, usually against pagans, those considered by the Catholic Church to be heretics, and peoples under the ban of excommunication for a mixture of religious, economic, and political reasons.
So we have a (series of) religious war(s), sanctioned by religious leaders, with prescendent set in a religious text. In other words we have a causal relationship.

PoiuyWired
08-13-2007, 03:25 PM
Considering that no one can prove that god exists, let alone consistently define him, it would seem that you'd categorize theists as ignorant.

Well, as long as either they think that "god", rationally or otherwise, then they are not ignorant. Obviously the definition of individual may vary, and be it reasonable/unreasonable, or defined by other merky concept like "faith" and what not, or even some kind of flawed logical deduction, or even conspiracy theory...

It does not matter, an incomplete/unaccurate definition is still a definition of sorts.

Achilles
08-13-2007, 05:59 PM
Well, as long as either they think that "god", rationally or otherwise, then they are not ignorant. The truth is there is no rational argument for the existence of god. If there were, theists would have a much easier time debating atheists because then they would have credible arguments to use.

Obviously the definition of individual may vary, and be it reasonable/unreasonable, or defined by other merky concept like "faith" and what not, or even some kind of flawed logical deduction, or even conspiracy theory... I'm not sure that I follow. Would you mind taking another stab at this part?

It does not matter, an incomplete/unaccurate definition is still a definition of sorts. That might be true, but this is quickly reduced to nonsense using the old saw "garbage in/garbage out". In other words any explation that invokes god is only as good as our understanding of what he/she/it is. Since this understanding has no objectivity, let alone evidence, whatsoever, any explanation is so subjective that is essentially useless (hence why scientists reject such explanations).

The truth is that our current concept of god is a god of the gaps. As the gaps are eliminated the places in which he/she/it can hide are similiarly eliminated. Futhermore, each gap taken away reduces his/her/its power and therefore makes he/she/it less necessary.