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View Diary: Atheist Digest '10, The believers' path to Atheism (212 comments)

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  •  Why? n/t (4+ / 0-)

    "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

    by XNeeOhCon on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 09:07:36 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  snide n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

      by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 09:09:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm suprised you made it past the title. (4+ / 0-)

        "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

        by XNeeOhCon on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 09:10:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was off-putting but... (0+ / 0-)

          ...I was hopeful that I might be surprised by the contents.  Sadly I wasn't.

          Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

          by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 09:13:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps it improved after you stopped reading. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wader, blueoasis, commonmass

            Did you expect a theist's smackdown of atheism?  I'm curious as to what you were hoping for that one sentence was enough to stop you in your tracks and write a cryptic critical comment.

            "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

            by XNeeOhCon on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 09:16:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Why? Because you already know that atheists (5+ / 0-)

            ...are fools and doomed to Hell, or that the writing was bad, or what?

            "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." Lazarus Long

            by rfall on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 09:28:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Silly (0+ / 0-)

              No.  I stopped reading because it was rude.

              Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

              by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:05:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is a Political Blog (5+ / 0-)

                If you stopped reading when something was rude, especially to the degree that was, you aren't gong to be reading much here.

                "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                by XNeeOhCon on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:07:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Appreciate the advice. (0+ / 0-)

                  I think I can make these judgments on my own though.

                  Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                  by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:12:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Quite clearly you can. (4+ / 0-)

                    You are also free to pearl clutch wherever you want.  Don't expect to not be called out for it though.

                    "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                    by XNeeOhCon on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:14:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It doesn't matter to me either way. (0+ / 0-)

                      I certainly expected defensiveness rather than consideration.  It tends to be what happens in these conversations.

                      As long as you are good with operating in an echo chamber, no problem.  But don't expect anyone who does not already agree with you to embrace the point of this diary if you cannot conceal your contempt for them.  

                      Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                      by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:19:55 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I'm not seeking to built nor inhabit (7+ / 0-)

                        an echo chamber.  I think you're basing your assumptions on some pretty thin evidence.  I would love nothing more than to engage with people that disagree with me.  I find it doubtful, however, that someone who finds the mere characterization of "gods in the sky" as so offensive as to stop all interest in the diary would be able to engage with me and not invent some feeling of contempt that wasn't really there.  

                        I assume your characterization of defensiveness was aimed at me.  I was simply trying to get to the bottom of your comment, and what caused your, in my estimation, overreaction to the diary.  

                        I would seem you aren't that interested in discussing the contents of said diary if you can be so easily deterred from reading it.  

                        "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                        by XNeeOhCon on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:33:37 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I find this disingenuous (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          bigjacbigjacbigjac

                          The first step in engaging people that come from other perspectives is to accept what they tell you about how they perceive your treatment and portrayals of them.  if you are unwilling to do that little, there is no room for engagement.

                          Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                          by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:43:12 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You leave no room for engagement if (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rieux, wilderness voice, teknospaz

                            you expect me to tip toe around your beliefs before you've really even given them to me.  I can't come to the table and say "If you don't accept my demands there will be no negotiation."  That contrdicts the very definition of negotiating.  "Engagement" works the same way.  You are free to say: "I find the use of that phrase offensive."  I ask "why."  I don't have to say "I'll never say it anymore."  We have yet to even scratch the surface and I'm sure that there is far more "offensive" stuff down there if you can't handle what has already been said.  

                            There is no room for engagement when one or both parties are easily offended.  I guarantee you can't offend me on this subject.  I've heard it all before and I have the capability of disagreeing whith what I see are mischaracterizations of my opinions without insisting that those responsible for those mischaracterizations bow and scrape to my sesibilities.

                            "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                            by XNeeOhCon on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:53:51 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Q: Why did people start shaking hands? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bigjacbigjacbigjac

                            A;  To assure each other that that both parties were unarmed.

                            When you want to start a dialogue, a level of good faith is required to begin.  You don't have to promise to never say something again just because I find it offensive, but if you cannot accept at face value that I do - we indeed have no room to talk.  

                            Being offended is a choice.  I do not generally make that choice.  But I also do not ignore clear signs of contempt.

                            Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                            by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:59:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Fair enough. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bigjacbigjacbigjac

                            I accept that you are offended by some of the diarist's words.  I don't feel I've shown you contempt, and I can assure you that I have no contempt for you.  I wouldn't have invested this much time in this dialogue had I felt otherwise.  You presented me with a statement indicating that you took offense to something which I feel is relatively benign.  I sought futher explanation from you as to why you felt it was so contemptable as to warrant dismissal of the rest of the diarist discussion.  You told me I was being defensive and suggested that if I wished to engage with you I should accept that you feel it was offensive.  I never denied that you felt that way, but simply sought to understand why.  Was that my mistake?  Show me where I showed you contempt and I'll retract.

                            "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                            by XNeeOhCon on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:07:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Does it necessarily follow (0+ / 0-)

                            that contempt for an idea in which you believe is the same as contempt for you?

                            I think not. My ideas and beliefs can stand up to debate or not. Anyone is free to poke holes in them. If they call me an idiot for believing in them, then it's personal and rude. But they are free to say they find the ideas idiotic. Why should that offend me?

                            The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. --Bertrand Russell

                            by denise b on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 10:32:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The first step in engaging people (5+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rieux, Larry Bailey, fumie, denise b, XNeeOhCon

                            is engaging their ideas, and being prepared to encounter ones that challenge your thinking.

                            You seem to favor negotiation with preconditions, rather than approaching dialog with an open mind.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:16:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  "Defensiveness"? Physician, heal thyself. (3+ / 0-)

                        Your moaning and wailing about the ways your ideas (oh, the humanity!) have been disrespected is "defensiveness" at best. No one else is obligated to treat your beliefs with kid gloves just because you prefer it that way.

                        •  Of course not. (0+ / 0-)

                          People have the right to be assholes if they so choose.  Knock yourself out.

                          Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                          by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:44:20 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Right. (4+ / 0-)

                            So anyone who doesn't treat your idiosyncratic personal ideas as untouchable porcelain figurines—unlike every single other idea we encounter on this political blog—is an "asshole." Sure.

                            Your privilege is showing.

                          •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

                            You can question my ideas at will.  Do so all you want.  But when you couple it with sneering contempt, you are indeed being an asshole.

                            Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                            by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:54:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Bullshit. (5+ / 0-)

                            You do not get to set the ground rules by which your ideas—which are not you—can and cannot be treated. Some ideas are worthy of mockery. Some ideas are worthy of criticism. It is not up to you to decide whether your ideas belong in those categories.

                            Your attempts to set ground rules governing what others can and cannot say about your notions are baseless nonsense.

                          •  i'm not telling you what you can or cannot say (1+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bigjacbigjacbigjac
                            Hidden by:
                            wilderness voice

                            I'm telling you what will cause me to judge you an asshole.

                            Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                            by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:02:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, precisely. (2+ / 0-)

                            Just like Jim Crow-era Southerers "judging" folks to be "uppity ni**ers." We who mock your religious beliefs don't know our place—we ignore the obvious fact that we have a duty to grovel and scrape at your superior feet. No one is ever required to show our ideas the slightest respect—but you, as our privileged superior, get to pretend that disrespect shown to your beliefs is a horrid transgression of the Rules of Ethical Conduct.

                            It's bullshit. You just can't handle open critique of the things you believe, so you try to pathologize anything that hits a little too close to home. Too bad: we're going to continue pointing out the flaws in religious belief. Calling us "uppity" isn't going to keep us down.

                          •  You forgot to nail yourself to a cross! (0+ / 0-)

                            Who knew it victimized you so to ask that you engage me with a basic modicum of respect if you want to dialogue with me.

                            Clearly you don't want a dialogue.  You want the license to harangue

                            Go for it.  I'll shut you out.

                            Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                            by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:13:55 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Buddy, *you're* the one playing the martyr. (0+ / 0-)

                            You are the one continually pretending that a nail pounded into an idea you hold is a nail going through your flesh.

                            And you continue doing it right here:

                            ....to ask that you engage me with a basic modicum of respect....

                            As I and others have explained repeatedly, you are not actually requesting "a basic modicum of respect" for you. You are demanding respect for (indeed slavish deference to) your ideas. Your inability to tell the difference is your problem (and the direct wages of the privilege you enjoy), not ours.

                          •  hardly (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm not acting victimized.  I simply made a judgment and you think you can bargain with it.

                            Given that this is a diary full of people who agree with you, you seem to feel you have that privilege.

                            Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                            by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:29:09 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Uh-huh. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wilderness voice

                            I'm not acting victimized.

                            Oh, sure. And all the sad-sack complaining about "Gods floating in the sky"—it was so "snide," boo hoo, sniff... "off-putting," "mocking tone," oh, the humanity, how can we even expect you to go on under these conditions?!?—was just for nothing, right?

                            You have been playing the aggrieved victim ever since your first comment on this diary. Silly denials don't erase what you've written.


                            I simply made a judgment and you think you can bargain with it.

                            "Bargain"? I'm not "bargain"ing; I'm telling where you can shove your snout-in-the-air "judgment." You're trying to take advantage of your society-given ability to silence people who disagree with you; it just doesn't happen to be working for the moment.


                            Given that this is a diary full of people who agree with you, you seem to feel you have that privilege.

                            Yes, indeed, Dr. Schlessinger, all of the African-Americans speaking up to say your radio show is disgusting are just practicing reverse racism. Isn't it awful when your inferiors forget which direction the "judgment" is supposed to travel in?

                          •  you are the only one I have seen on this diary (0+ / 0-)

                            engaging in offensive ad hominem name-calling. Have a donut.

                          •  The problem is that theists tend to find any (6+ / 0-)

                            challenge to their beliefs to be "sneering contempt," no matter what the challenger's actual tone or intent.

                            "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                            by XNeeOhCon on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:58:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And that's what's happening right here. (2+ / 0-)

                            The mild—if that!—criticisms that snout is wailing about are precisely that. There is nothing offensive about this diary. Snout just can't stand the slightest discouraging word about his/her beliefs. Under his/her logic, the only acceptable atheist is a silent one.

                          •  Clearly... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...you feel I must answer for the theists of the world - whom you have no problem lumping together and generalizing about what "the problem" with them might be.  

                            Imagine me seeing you as harboring contempt.

                            Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                            by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:05:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, no. (2+ / 0-)

                            Not all of the "theists of the world" think they can get away with the bald bullshit privilege you're trying on this thread. You have claimed that the (comically mild) slights at religious ideas in this diary are "mocking" and "offensive" and that the diarist has therefore committed an ethical transgression against you.

                            You can't pass this off on your religious brethren. They're not here. You are, and you're trying to silence and pathologize critics of religion with your nonsensical invocation of your privilege. You won't succeed.

                          •  What is this idiocy about privilege? (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm not asking you for any undue consideration of my beliefs.  I am asking you to avoid being snide and condescending in how you question them.

                            Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                            by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:17:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  "I'm not writing a Daily Kos comment!" (3+ / 0-)

                            I'm not asking you for any undue consideration of my beliefs.

                            Uh, yeah, sure—just like the sun isn't going to come up on Monday.

                            You are doing nothing but asking for a kind of "consideration" of religious beliefs that no one ever asks, or gives, to any other kind of ideas—including, notably, specifically atheistic ideas.


                            I am asking you to avoid being snide and condescending in how you question them.

                            Funny how your second sentence directly contradicts your first.

                            This is a political blog. It is a free marketplace of ideas. Beliefs are questioned in "snide and condescending" ways every single day. No one bats an eye unless the beliefs being questioned are religious ones.

                            Voila: privilege. Q.E.D.

                          •  I didn't suggest you answered for all theists. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wilderness voice

                            I didn't even suggest that all theists have this problem, but I find your defensiveness demonstrative of my point, in that by criticizing your ideas I am somehow contemptuous of you, or personally insulting you.  Nothing could be further from the truth, even now.  The fact that you'll likely not believe that only reinforces my point.  Ideas have to be separate from people.  They are independent, critcizable entities which should have no feelings attached to them.  The problem with religion, as previously stated, is that religious ideas are frequently (erroneously in my opinion) excluded from that status.  Before we can engage on the topic, that voodoo doll must be detached from its victim, lest any pin pricks it receives be rendered personal stab wounds.

                            "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                            by XNeeOhCon on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:15:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Lets take this off of religion for a while (0+ / 0-)

                            Say for a moment that a conservative came here to dialogue with us  - telling us that his intention was to ask us to discuss our differences in good faith and perhaps convince us to "kill progressivism" and adopt his ideas.

                            Then imagine that he casually thew in a line about our hating America...or wanting to push the gay agenda...or hoping to establish death panels, etc.  

                            You'd see right through that guy.      

                            Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                            by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:26:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Okay. I like a good thought experiment. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wilderness voice

                            I like a good analogy also.  In that scenario I would ask that conservative if they realized that their statement was taking away from the impression that they really wanted to engage and understand progressives.  I would ask them why they believed that way.  Unless of course I wasn't truly interested in hearing them out in the first place, but needed a reason to shut down the conversation.  I would have to expect a certain amount of inflammatory rhetoric from a conservative, even one that was really here in good faith to make peace with us. After all they didn't arrive at their ideas because they are inherently stupid or evil, but because they, through whatever course, developed a completely different lens through with to see the world.  If the entire diary read like Saturday hatemail-a-palooza, I would tell the diarist to kindly move along and take their blind hatred with them.

                            How does that translate in this situation, I'm not sure.  The main difference is people tend to have stronger stomachs for dissenting opinons and arguments in the politcal sphere than they do for the theological one.  

                            "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                            by XNeeOhCon on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 12:02:39 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  With that in mind... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...lets return to this situation.

                            I did not shut down the possibility of dialogue.  Indeed I have answered more than a dozen responses.  Not a single person here has so much as acknowledged the possibility that the words I took exception to might have been counter productive.    

                            That conservative I posited would need to demonstrate at least a cursory willingness to acknowledge your perspective, wouldn't he?  He does not have to agree with you, but certainly he must at the very least be willing to own up to the fact that you consider his words a breach of good faith and ought to be willing to consider the possibility that you might have reason to.

                               

                            Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                            by snout on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 12:19:08 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Okay, let's take a step back. (0+ / 0-)

                            As I said in another comment above (I can understand if you didn't get to read it given the volume of comments in the thread), I don't think any of us denied your right to be offended, we were, are, puzzled at why such a harmless statement might offend you.  You have every right to be offended.  It is not in my power to apologize to you on behalf of the diarist.  from a third party perspective I sought to engage you about your statement.  "Why?" was what I said, and your response told me that you didn't seem interested in discussing the contents of the diary since you yourself claimed to have stopped reading it fairly early on.  That admission, coupled with your senstivity to a fairly flippant remark suggested to me that you weren't so much interested in discussing the topic of the diary, but rather wished to drop in and voice your displeasure about its content and tone.  Several attempts were made by me and others to draw you out past your wall and tell us what you really felt about the diary or the discussions surrounding it.  You seemed content to slip back behind your fortress of indignation at being asked to defend your opinion or at having your beliefs challenged.  

                            You ask me to acknowledge your right to find the comment offensive.  I do acknowledge it.  I won't tell you what to think, I just want to know why you think it.  That is really what we're here for.  I ask you to aacknowledge that I didn't personally attack you.  I would never do so, even if it was done to me first.  I've been compared to a Nazi before, a couple times.  You can do it now if it will make you feel better.  It doesn't bother me because I know it's not true.  Meet me halfway does not mean 97%-3%  To me, a feel completely comfortable acknowledging that you feel offended by that remark, but I do not feel comfortable agreeing with you that it was offensive, which seems to be the criteria you expect of us.

                            "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                            by XNeeOhCon on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 12:38:43 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm fully willing to discuss the basic premise... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...of the diary.  I'd read enough to get the gist (it isn't a new thought) and had a few people summerize it in their comments.  I'll talk about anything if it is done in a respectful manner(something only you have managed to do within this thread- which is why I continue talking to you and will ignore the others from here on in).

                            I think "fortress of indignation" is perhaps a bit of hyperbole on your part, but I'll let that go.  I am happy to engage on any subject you want.  

                            I don't think I am being oversensitive here.  The general tone among the folks in this diary is pretty contemptuous.  Even your sig line is.  

                            Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                            by snout on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 01:34:03 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Guffaw. (3+ / 0-)

                            I did not shut down the possibility of dialogue.

                            Declaring someone an "asshole" and a "jerk" for making utterly ordinary critical points about religion is attempting to use the power of social sanction to do precisely that. You are pathologizing any argument that does not flatter the particular notions you are partial to.

                            "Asshole" is a statement of moral condemnation. As applied by you, in this thread, it's privileged nonsense.


                            Not a single person here has so much as acknowledged the possibility that the words I took exception to might have been counter productive.

                            No one asked for your concern trolling. What you find "productive" about nonbelievers' rhetoric is not our problem. We do not take marching orders from anyone who blows a gasket when an "s" is added onto "god."

                            I find it rather productive to isolate and discredit absurd purveyors of privilege, myself.


                            Dear Believer:

                            Thank you for your concern about the well-being of the atheist movement, and for your advice on how to run it. I appreciate your concern for the image of the atheist movement, and I appreciate you taking the time to give us advice on how to get our message across more effectively.

                            [....]

                            It is difficult to avoid the observation that, whenever believers give advice to atheists on how to run our movement, it is always in the direction of telling us to be more quiet, to tone it down, to be less confrontational and less visible. I have yet to see a believer advise the atheist movement to speak up more loudly and more passionately; to make our arguments more compelling and more unanswerable; to get in people's faces more about delicate and thorny issues that they don't want to think about; to not be afraid of offending people if we think we're right. I have received a great deal of advice from believers on how atheists should run our movement... and it is always, always, always in the direction of politely suggesting that we shut up.

                            You'll have to forgive me if I question the motivation behind this advice, and take it with a grain of salt.

                            You'll have to forgive me if I think your suggestions on making our movement more effective would, in fact, have the exact opposite effect. What's more, you'll have to forgive me for suspecting that this, however unconsciously, is the true intention behind your very kind and no doubt sincerely- meant advice.

                            And you'll have to forgive me if I am less than enthusiastic about taking advice on how to run the atheist movement from the very people our movement is trying to change.

                            Your concern is duly noted. Thank you for sharing.

                            - Greta Christina, "An Open Letter to Concerned Believers »"

                          •  That was great, and right on point! (0+ / 0-)

                            Thank you.

                            Peace.

                            Or, as the fictional Jesus said, when "speaking" words meant to be about philosophy, the very topic of this diary, and, keep in mind, the fictional Jesus represents a personification of truth, simply truth, he said,

                            I do not come to bring peace, but a sword.

                            We must have a verbal swordplay, to tell the truth, to teach the truth.

                            Thank you.

                          •  Your boxed quotation (2+ / 0-)

                            happens to be one of The Family's motivation nuggets they use to justify their embrace of Nazi and Stalinist/Maoist tactics to spread their vision of a fascist corporate theocracy, btw.  Or, in other words, the end justifies the means.

                            If people have to be killed in order to acheive their goals, so be it -- Jesus said he wasn't about peace, he was for killing (their interpretation, not mine).

                          •  Okay, I really have to go to bed now. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wilderness voice

                            But the invitation remains open, and serious, if you would like to return and try again from the beginning.  My diary will be tomorrow morning at about 9:30 AM Pacific.  Another will be Tuesday night around 4 PM Pacific.  Even if you choose not to comment, please read them.  Thanks for stopping in and participating, even while outnumbered.  That shows courage at the very least.

                            "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                            by XNeeOhCon on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 12:50:44 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ironic commentary, (5+ / 0-)

                            given your free way of telling all atheists how to behave.

                            And, imagine you just rubbing your hands with glee at seeing your worst stereotypes realized. Just push and prod enough, and, voila! Uppity atheists act as if they were pushed and prodded!

                            "Gods floating in the sky" is not a mockery of you, or of people of faith.

                            It is a comment about beliefs, and about gods. Not about people.

                            Your comments, on the other hand, are all about people of a certain category.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:19:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  What's rude is religion - may we all burn in hell (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SoCalHobbit

                Christianity or Buddhism, they are both the same.  Somebody to keep people who are afraid of being alone from being alone.  Life is a bitch, and then you die.  The end.  For those who can't handle that, there is buddha, jesus, 40 virgins, mother of Zeus, mother nature, or one's navel and the contemplation thereof.  

                Religion and its value or lack thereof has to be the most popular dorm room conversation from the 60s...perhaps this topic is a generational rite of passage. Whatever it is, my boat sailed long ago.  

                Don't tax the rich, starve the poor.

                by dkmich on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 02:44:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  It was illustrative allegory, I believe. (7+ / 0-)

        To take it so personally is perhaps to miss an early message that made this diary meaningful: allow yourself to briefly "kill" your faith and/or religion, then see what conversation can take place with others who have done the same.  Mildly calling someone's god a figure in the sky provides an example of how one can achieve that objective.

        With that understanding, the search for common understanding that exists beside (or around) faith eventually led to the proposal of a "contemplative" science, etc.

        I feel that nothing should be so sacred that it cannot be put onto a shelf, even for a small time, given a good cause for doing so.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 09:27:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well said, wader. (7+ / 0-)

          I feel that nothing should be so sacred that it cannot be put onto a shelf, even for a small time, given a good cause for doing so.

          Except that many Christians consider such to be impossible, as it would be blasphemy.

          Mildly calling someone's god a figure in the sky provides an example of how one can achieve that objective.

          No f'ing kidding.  There's much worse it could be, and has been, called.  Surely, as Jesus counseled, those offended could "turn the other cheek" for long enough to listen and forgive, at the least.

          "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." Lazarus Long

          by rfall on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 09:30:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

          It was mockery.  Use of the plural "gods" for instance is a form of mockery as the religions mentioned do not believe in different Gods - they beleive in the same God and simply have differing opinions about he/she/it's nature and different traditions of worship.

          Further - describing God as "in the sky" is another form of mockery.  Tart it up any way you want to, but we both know full well what the intention was.  

          Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

          by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:10:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your taking this personally unfortunately (9+ / 0-)

            misses the point that I attempted to clarify: in order to have the conversation that eventually leads to a new class of science (among other things), then you could take a lesson from Buddhism and find the willingness inside to kill the object(s) and subject(s) of your religion, thereby freeing you for the discussion at hand.  It needn't be discarded, just pushed aside and stored momentarily.

            To speak of god(s) and being(s) in the sky is to Kill the Buddha", in essence.  Mock your own beliefs in a simplistic manner and you've achieved a humbleness that allows for new discussion.  When that discourse is over, bring your true faith back into your presence of mind and heart, perhaps a bit more (fill in the blank) by the experience.

            Again, nothing can be so sacred that we cannot put it into a box for awhile.  Using sarcasm or silliness can be a device for packing it away - it's disarming, which is probably a necessary tool, in this kind of case.

            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

            by wader on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:33:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It IS unfortunate (0+ / 0-)

              It is unfortunate that the diarist chose to adopt a mocking tone, thus distracting from their point.  This is not my fault.  Don't blame me for noticing.

              As for the utility of mocking one's own beliefs - the key to doing this is that it must actually be you who does so.  You cannot "kill the Buddha" for me.  Nor can the diarist.  

               

              Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

              by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:51:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure. (6+ / 0-)

                This is not my fault.  Don't blame me for noticing.

                In any other arena of human discourse, the "mocking tone" which appears to have slain you so brutally would have been passed off as a matter of course.

                It is only because the thing being (supposedly) "mocked" was your religious belief that you think you have the moral authority to piss and moan and blame the diarist for his/her awful incivility. It's your right as a Superior Religious Believer never to have your ideas made fun of!

                Sorry. Won't wash. Religious privilege gets you nowhere here.

                If you don't want your ideas mocked, don't accept ideas that are worthy of mockery.

                •  That is idiocy (0+ / 0-)

                  I wouldn't tolerate mockery of atheists either.

                  You know nothing of my beliefs.

                  Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                  by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:07:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Blind spot demonstrated. (5+ / 0-)

                    Atheists are people.

                    This diary does not "mock" people. (It doesn't even really mock ideas, though you are laughably claiming it does.)


                    You know nothing of my beliefs.

                    I know that you are given to bitching and moaning that a diarist used the plural (gasp!) noun "gods" and described them as being "in the sky."

                    That's plenty. Your whining deserves to be mocked.

                    But to return to the direct evidence of your overwhelming privilege: atheists are people. The notion of plural "gods" is not a person. The notion of gods being, or not being, "in the sky" is not a person.

                    Your utter inability to notice the difference demonstrates why your complaint should not be taken seriously. Ideas do not have human rights.

                    •  Who is whining? (0+ / 0-)

                      I absolutely affirm your right to be jerks if you so choose.  I simply get to call you a jerk.

                      As for the supposed blind spot - I think you are hiding behind semantics.  You mock ideas as a means of mocking those who hold them.

                      Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                      by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:35:20 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Uh, that'd be you. (0+ / 0-)

                        Right here:

                        "Gods floating in the sky"

                        I stopped reading right there.

                        And here:

                        snide n/t

                        And here:

                        It was off-putting but I was hopeful that I might be surprised by the contents.  Sadly I wasn't.

                        And here:

                        I thought I might encounter a thoughtful diary about transcending one's beliefs.  I gather that this was the intention of the diary - but by striking a mocking tone against people of faith all credibility was lost.

                        You have done little in this entire thread but wail that treating your special snowflake ideas in anything other than the precise way you demand renders someone an "asshole" and a "jerk."

                        That's whining, indeed notably pathetic whining. As I said at the outset, no one else is obligated to treat your beliefs with kid gloves just because you prefer it that way. Your attempt to do with social sanction what you can't with law will not succeed.

                        Pretend as hard as you'd like that attacking your ideas is the same thing as attacking you. As atheists are constantly having to remind theists, pretending doesn't make it so.

                        •  Ah. (0+ / 0-)

                          I suppose you'd call any words I might type "whining".  Last I checked that word had a specific meaning.  

                          At least any oretense of good faith on your part has been dropped.

                          I think I'm done now.  Piss into the wind without me if you want.

                          Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                          by snout on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 12:04:31 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Please join us again. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wader, RandomActsOfReason

                            I do not ask that ironically.  Perhaps we can reset and start over.  I'm posting tomorrow morning and you might actually be interesed in Commonmass's diary on Tuesday evening as described below.  I know you probably won't believe me, but I don't bear you any ill will.  It seems like an attack when this many people disagree with you at once, but I think I speak for everyone involved in this thread when I say that we just like to argue.  I certainly wouldn't blame you it you avoided us in the future, but I would like to hear what you have to say about other topics sometime.

                            "Religion allows people by the millions to believe things, that only a crazy person could believe on their own." -Sam Harris

                            by XNeeOhCon on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 12:17:21 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, please do come again, snout (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            XNeeOhCon

                            and try not to have your very first comment be one that attempts to shut down the discussion, or any discussion, of the topic on any but your personal terms.

                            I think you'd be surprised to learn how open folks are here to debating substantive ideas - rather than rolling over and saying, "hit me again" every time some religious apologist comes in here to tell us how mean and hateful we are for even having an intellectual discussion within a hundred miles of the "f" word (that would be faith, not fuck, in case you were wondering).

                            Come in, with an open mind, hackles not raised, presumption and entitlement released, and discuss honestly the philosophical or political issues raised by one of these diaries. All opinions are welcome. Not all attitudes are. Respect the difference. And, by all means, come again. Unlike some other communities here, we welcome dissent.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 01:02:22 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Heh! (0+ / 0-)

                            I suppose you'd call any words I might type "whining".

                            Uh, no—just the amusingly plaintive ones. Your high dudgeon that the diary dared to use the plural noun "gods" just doesn't fit with any vocal tone other than the five-year-old wailing that he wants Lucky Charms for breakfast, not oatmeal.


                            At least any oretense of good faith on your part has been dropped.

                            Again, this is just a comedy of errors projection. You declare in your very first comment that you stopped reading the diary when you found a phrase that you were unhappy with... and then you think you have any standing to question anyone else's good faith? As another commenter pointed out, you didn't even read the fucking diary! How much gall do you have?


                            I think I'm done now.

                            That'd be swell, if true, but I'm not convinced.

                      •  Oh, and: (0+ / 0-)

                        I think you are hiding behind semantics.  You mock ideas as a means of mocking those who hold them.

                        Yes, it's perfectly understandable that someone utterly buried in religious privilege would see it that way. How could any of those scummy atheists disrespect your precious ideas so, unless they hated you personally and wanted to attack you? Everyone knows that religious ideas are supposed to be untouchable, so that must be what's going on!

                        Sorry, but no. Your inability to tell the difference between your self and your beliefs does not imply that anyone else does, or should, share that inability.


                        Claiming that I'm "hiding behind semantics" is, again, very funny. Who, pray tell, wrote "atheists" in your comment? You could have said "I wouldn't tolerate mockery of atheism either"—but you didn't. Because the operative factor here is that inability of yours: you really didn't notice that what was being (comically mildly) criticized in this diary was certain kinds of theism, not theists. You honestly missed that, leading you to honestly miss the difference between atheists and atheism.

                        As I said, it was your "blind spot demonstrated." The "semantic" error was yours, pal.

                        •  Your words drip with contempt. (0+ / 0-)

                          Imagine me picking up on it.

                          Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

                          by snout on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 12:05:13 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Your behavior DESERVES contempt. (0+ / 0-)

                            I notice you have decided to ignore my argument, and try to escape by taking a personal shot and running away. You have earned what you've gotten.

                            When you stop trying to wield your privilege as a weapon to silence impious treatment of religious ideas, you will no longer receive contempt from me.

                            'Til then, the shoe fits, and you'll wear it.

                    •  hmmm (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Rieux

                      Vajrayana Buddhists can be fairly said to believe in "gods in the sky" whereas Christians do not.  Coupled with the original refernce to "killing the Buddha" there is reason to believe the diarist was actually referring to Buddhists.  That would render snout's offendedness misplaced.  Maybe as a Buddhist I should be offended instead.  Curious that I can't be bothered.

                  •  Tell us, then, of your beliefs (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Rieux, Larry Bailey, wader, louisprandtl

                    Drop this bullshit and engage in a constructive discussion of substance.

                    How can you, with a straight face, justify innumerous comments in a diary you state you stopped reading at the first sentence that offended you?

                    You didn't even read the fucking diary!

                    No wonder you have nothing of substance to contribute here.

                    Surprise me. Prove me wrong. Nothing a rational thinker loves more than to be proven wrong (another thing that distinguishes rational thinking from faith-based thinking, by the way).

                    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:23:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I am merely offering what the diary offers (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ScienceMom, XNeeOhCon

                in my own form, because I think the suggestions have merit.

                Any device or utility seems fine, to me.

                But, there's no need to take umbrage with those used by others, I feel.  Any post-religious discussion should be beyond one's sense of self that may be bound to specific religion(s), it would seem - I mean, that's the point of looking outside the box for something more universal among the spectrum of believers through non-believers.

                "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

                by wader on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 12:49:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Ugh. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RandomActsOfReason, XNeeOhCon

            It was mockery.  Use of the plural "gods" for instance is a form of mockery as the religions mentioned do not believe in different Gods....

            News flash: religions are belief systemsideas. It is not morally objectionable to "mock" ideas.

            •  By extension... (0+ / 0-)

              ...you mock those that hold them.  And worse - you respect them so little you expect them not to notice.

              Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

              by snout on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 10:46:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bullshit. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                crose, RandomActsOfReason, XNeeOhCon

                That is not how any idea of any other kind is treated in the world of public discourse. Economic theories,  It is only religious belief that gets the kind of laughable "Attacking an idea is attacking the person who holds the idea" nonsense defense that you are pushing here.

                You are not a human shield for your beliefs, much as you pretend you are. Ideas do not have human rights, and no one is morally obligated to respect them. Your attempt to strangle all critical inquiry into ideas you hold is the end of a free marketplace of ideas; it can't stand.


                Now, the invention of the scientific method and science is, I'm sure we'll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and that it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked and if it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn't withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn't seem to work like that; it has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. That's an idea we're so familiar with, whether we subscribe to it or not, that it's kind of odd to think what it actually means, because really what it means is 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? - because you're not!' If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it, but on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday', you say, 'Fine, I respect that'. The odd thing is, even as I am saying that I am thinking 'Is there an Orthodox Jew here who is going to be offended by the fact that I just said that?' but I wouldn't have thought 'Maybe there's somebody from the left wing or somebody from the right wing or somebody who subscribes to this view or the other in economics' when I was making the other points. I just think 'Fine, we have different opinions'. But, the moment I say something that has something to do with somebody's (I'm going to stick my neck out here and say irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly defensive and say 'No, we don't attack that; that's an irrational belief but no, we respect it'.

                It's rather like, if you think back in terms of animal evolution, an animal that's grown an incredible carapace around it, such as a tortoise - that's a great survival strategy because nothing can get through it; or maybe like a poisonous fish that nothing will come close to, which therefore thrives by keeping away any challenges to what it is it is. In the case of an idea, if we think 'Here is an idea that is protected by holiness or sanctity', what does it mean? Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows, but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe, no, that's holy? What does that mean? Why do we ring-fence that for any other reason other than that we've just got used to doing so? There's no other reason at all, it's just one of those things that crept into being and once that loop gets going it's very, very powerful. So, we are used to not challenging religious ideas but it's very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be.

                - Douglas Adams, "Is There an Artificial God?"


                The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

                - John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

              •  You have (6+ / 0-)

                succeeded in hijacking what was an interesting diary. You have not proved your point in any way and have made your weak position even more shaky by continuing to insist that you personally were mocked. Many religions believe, image or even insist that their gods inhabit the sky in a cloud-strewn, floating world. Throughout the history of the RCC, paintings, sculptures and illustrations commissioned and paid for by the Church have depicted the Christian God as floating in the sky. Islam forbids the depiction of Allah or Mohammed, but the Prophet is said in some traditions to inhabit a realm in "midheaven" neither in Paradise nor on Earth. It is these images the diary was addressing, not to any particular belief of yours. Get over yourself and please allow the discussion of the diary continue.

          •  Wow. Just. Wow. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rieux, Larry Bailey, crose, Prof Haley

            Use of the plural "gods" for instance is a form of mockery

            Unbelievable - pun intended.

            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

            by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 11:20:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The distinction between (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RandomActsOfReason

            one god or multiple gods may be of interest to you, but it's meaningless to me, since I don't believe in any of them. But when I tell you I am an atheist, you already know that I make no distinction between one or many gods, so rather than mockery it is just a way of stating my own non-theism. Why is this a belittlement of you? Or if it is, then aren't you belittling people who believe in multiple gods by what you say?

            And since you admit that people have differing opinions about her/his/its nature, why not just say her/his/its/their nature?

            The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. --Bertrand Russell

            by denise b on Mon Aug 23, 2010 at 11:00:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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