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Sarah

After reading your initial post, I was compelled to direct you toward the George H. Smith article because of your narrow and inaccurate assessment of atheists. You said, “From my perspective as an agnostic, atheism is simply the religion of non-religion,” and then, “That's because all religions are based on a fanatical, faith based need to convince others their view is correct,” and “Thus truth becomes relative, which truth cannot be. Truth itself is absolute. It is only one’s state of knowledge that is relative.” So you’re saying that all atheists are fanatical and faith-based is absolutely true or just true from your relative position to absolute truth? Again, I ask you about implicit atheists. Show me these proselytizing babies! It’s already been said in replies to you, the preponderance of atheists at whom you’re laughing at from atop the agnostic mountaintop are agnostic, also.
“To me the only rational answer to the question “Is there a God?” is ”No one knows” because at this time there is also no tangible, provable evidence there is not.”

When has GC ever said otherwise?


It seems that you are mistaking the drive to fight for social justice for some insecurity that impels us to be GOD DELUSION thumpers. I assume you’re up on school prayer, forced recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the inexhaustible list of issues that violate the civil rights of atheists in America. I assume you’re aware of that the constitutions of seven states include religious tests that prevent atheists from holding public office. I assume you know that my little boy is not welcome to be a Boy Scout because our family does not have a religious affiliation, and we can’t claim your “non-religion” as our religion so that he can join. I assume you’ve already seen the Gallup poll entitled “Some Americans Reluctant to Vote for Mormon, 72-Year-Old Candidates”. The gist of that is, they’re not voting for you, either. There’s a fight to be fought, here, and you insult Greta Christina and those who deeply appreciate her efforts and courage when you minimize her activism to a petty, insecurity-fueled impulse “ to convince others their view is correct.” It’s even more insulting when you consider the efforts that her atheist activism requires her to withhold from fighting other injustices that affect her very personally.

For someone who claims to not know anything with absolute certainty, there is a preponderance of absolute language in your post: “all religions are based on a fanatical, faith based need…”, “ if there is no way to run an experiment to produce evidence that [whatever] exists, then it automatically becomes axiomatic that [whatever] doesn’t exist. Period.”, “all they’ve got in their arsenal is, ‘You can’t prove any of that crazy shit.’”, and “To me the only rational answer to the question “Is there a God?” is…”.

“Happily agnostics do not require any faith whatever to stand on the solid rock of our own ignorance and there from laugh at both those who ardently believe in things they can’t see, touch, smell, hear, taste, count, sort or measure as well as those who cannot believe in things that no one has yet discovered or figured out an experiment to prove.”

How can you say such a thing and, in the same post, this:

“But my experience with almost every atheist I have known, is that while they can point out the absurdity of religious beliefs, more often than not, their ability to do so with such ease results in an arrogant superiority complex” ???

How can you call the anger generated by these words “irrational”? How can you drop in on a community of a blogger and her readers and say that we’re faith-based fanatics with an arrogant superiority complex at whom you’re laughing from atop a mountain and then wonder at the venom?

Sarah

(@AgnosticTom)

Greta Christina

Strakh, I'm glad you de-lurked, and I don't want to discourage you from commenting again -- but I do need to ask you to dial it back. My comment policy is that criticism of ideas and behavior is fine, but personally insulting language towards other commenters is not. Your comment crossed that line.

Believe me, I get your frustration. Both Ronald King and AgnosticTom's commenting here has been very frustrating. They came into an atheist blog to give their opinions, but are consistently resisting efforts to engage with people who are challenging those opinions. They're evading or ignoring valid questions; they're simply repeating their opinions without addressing opposition to them or backing them up with evidence; they're focusing their debate on tone while largely ignoring content; and they're equating argument and strong disagreement with rage and venom. I'm frustrated, too. But please rise above it. Don't get personally insulting here. Thanks.

Ronald King

This is my last statement. I see what you see and it is so very black and white in your materialistic perception. You cannot see what I see and so you get angry. Continue in your black and white world with the rest of the enemies you have defined as crazy and argue it out with them. They are just like you, rigid and concrete thinkers. Goodbye.

Maria


You cannot see what I see and so you get angry.

Was this last post directed at me?

Well, I'm for one is actually not angry at all. And yes, of course, all the objections anyone has ever made to the nonsense here in this thread... is really only sheer jealousy from not "seeing what you see".

You're flouncing, and WE are the angry ones? If Internet had a door, it would have been slammed really hard at that last 'Goodbye'.

:-D

Sarah

I can't believe Hitler hasn't come up yet.

Maria

You cannot see what I see and so you get angry.

This part of my comment above was supposed to have been bolded to show it was Ronald's words, not mine, but I was a bit too fast on the post-button it seems.

Strakh

Having dealt with the likes of Ronald King face to face and on the 'net for years, I'm willing to take big bets that King is and will comment again.
It's just too much fun for him to be so 'spiritually' condescending to those of us who are more intelligent and/or better educated.
He thinks that he has "put one over on those aigh-haids" with all his 'love' of 'gawd.'
Because, it is easier to talk about love than to actually do what is right by people, like:
Give them equal rights regardless of gender or sexual orientation, or face that most frightening of all realities, personal responsibility for one's own behavior without the concept of a forgiving god.
He projects his fear of eternal punishment for his lack of personal control onto those of us who have evolved beyond his level.
And I know he really believes it. He has to, or he would have to grow up and take responsibility for his actions.
He also mistakes disgust for anger. For I am not angry, but supremely disgusted that grown adults like him can say the most egregiously idiotic crap and then be condescending when caught in the act.
You'd think the man was running for political office or something.
Hope he doesn't tweet....

Robert B

Now wait a minute, Strakh. Neither being wrong nor speaking condescendingly has anything to do with intelligence or education. There are lots and lots of smart, well educated people in the world who are wrong on some important issue and are rude about it. Heck, I've been wrong and rude about it, and I like to think I'm a pretty bright fellow and my school was pretty good.

I've been reading Greta's articles, and I've noticed something. Though Greta's writing is adult and eloquent, there's nothing really complicated or difficult in her arguments or her logic. I could explain her case against God to most of the ordinary high school students I've worked with.

In other words, we're not talking brain surgery here. There are (I estimate) billions of people in the world who are smart and educated enough to understand the reasoning behind atheism, but who do not accept it. Therefore, it must be that intelligence and education aren't very important factors in whether you believe in God. There must be some other factor or factors leading to their belief.

And, not to start a fight, but I think assuming that people who disagree with you are stupid and ignorant is a condescending thing to do, too. Even if I disagree with those people also.

Strakh

@Robert B:
Then let me clarify: when I disagree with someone, I don't assume they're stupid. I ask them about the topic. If their knowledge and/or reasoning is superior to mine, then I learn, and change. Such is life, and it's a good thing.
Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about:
When I was working for National Geographic under my Professor's tutelage during a summer break, I got to work with a real electron microscope. I was so excited I couldn't shut up about it at lunchtime. I was using the real equipment to help my Professor classify samples we had found in the field. I mean, big time stuff to a college boy like me.
A girl at the table looked at me and said, "You don't actually believe that, do you?" I had no idea what she was talking about. She went on to explain that the things we had found were placed in the earth by Satan to confuse us and turn us from "God." "I'll pray for you," she sneered at me as she left. For once, I was speechless.
I had spent years working on the science behind the technology, then more years studying the application of the technology to understanding the world in which we live and this woman actually stated that all of it was a lie and that her small, stupid beliefs trumped all the evidence I'd seen and read about.
You see, she wasn't disagreeing with ME, she was denying reality.
And sorry if this offends you, or anyone else in existence, but denying reality is s.t.u.p.i.d., period. I don't care how many letters you have behind your name, if you deny reality, you are acting stupid, if you aren't actually stupid.
If anyone, anywhere, could give me evidence of their g0d, I would change my mind, as I have done over other things many times. But since the concept of g0d is such a fantastically stupid and hateful piece of crap that no one, anywhere, has ever proven, I'm not holding my breath.
So, no, Robert, I don't assume someone is stupid if they disagree with me. I know they're either acting stupid or are truly stupid if they deny reality, which is the fundamental prerequisite for all religions, as we have amply seen many, many, many times over.
And no fight intended from me, either.

Greta Christina

Strakh: There's a difference between saying that the belief is stupid, and saying that the believer is stupid. (Although in the example you just gave, I'd have to say "both"...)

Many otherwise intelligent people compartmentalize when it comes to deeply treasured beliefs. And it's not just religious believers who do that. Many, many atheists do it as well. In fact, compartmentalization of this sort is probably a fundamental part of how the human mind works. It is entirely possible to have a couple/few phenomenally stupid ideas, and still be a generally intelligent person.

Robert B

You distinguished, more than once, between acting stupid and being stupid. I think you made a very important distinction there. I totally agree that the claim you describe about your samples (something like fossils or ancient artifacts, I gather) being placed there by Satan to confuse you, is a really stupid idea. That sort of reality-denial is a very stupid way to behave.

But I think it's much less useful to describe a person as stupid, even if they have some really profoundly stupid ideas and behaviors. There are people who have measurably less reasoning ability than average, which is what I think of as the literal meaning of "stupid" as applied to a person, but stupidity in this sense is surprisingly rare as a cause of stupid ideas. I believe George W. Bush, for example, had a notably above average IQ (whatever IQ is worth) and he did go to Yale.

Please don't think I oppose either your point or your tone. I agree that religion is stupid, and that we should be angry about this and show it. The woman you describe in your story deserves some sort of insult, certainly. I object to characterizing religious believers (rather than beliefs) as stupid because I don't think it's very likely to be true. Theism is probably caused by something else, and figuring out what that is will make us better able to change it.

Rugged Maniac

got learn fron your comments, is that so?

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