4 users responded " Between posts posting "

"Between posts posting" was posted by and 4 users commented
admin said,         
December 1 2008

Hi John,
I dressed as Sarah Palin for Halloween and I looked nothing like a douchebag. Thank Darwin we didn’t elect her!
The God of Judeo-Xian religion is, among other horrible qualities, is petty and jealous. It’s funny how at some times he’s omniscient, but not others, such as in the Job story. Speaking of which, if Job is an example of how God treats his devotees, I’m not missing anything.
As to worshiping trees, I love trees. I can think of worse false idols. I say more trees, less religion.
Congratulations on your new sister-in-law. Why is it that your brother and his bride didn’t really want a priest? Are they mixed about a Catholic ceremony, perhaps subconsciously?
I think a lot of us have been in the situation you’ve described of being in a religious setting, like a wedding, and thinking, “Oh, give me a break!” Playing video games is certainly one way to handle that. Let that be a tip for the rest of you nerds.

Dan Caless said,         
December 4 2008

Guys I think one needs to be careful about drawing a line between being critical of religious irrationality and disrepectful. I don’t think ridicule is appropriate in a religious setting especially when one is an invited guest. If one is upset about an irrational religious practice then don’t attend. I’m not impuning anything said above – I’m not sure where one best draws the line and God knows it’s not easy – just that I see this inclination by atheists to ‘diss’ religion and that doesn’t buy us anything. If anything it makes us look nihilistic and hostile, and who wants to join a group/philosophy like that?


admin said,         
December 4 2008

You’re right, Dan. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I’m guessing that John was playing video games in the back where no one could see him, so no one was offended, and I agree with you on that point.
It *is* very hard to draw the line, for me at least, in what to respect and what not to. Any thoughts on this?

Mark said,         
January 5 2009

A lovely site. And Dan is right.

Why? Atheists have all the rights that others do, but no rights that others don’t.

If one wants a seat at any community’s table, then one sits down and minds the local manners, as anyone else would do. If one dislikes the manners too much, then one might prefer another community, eh?

If that sounds relativistic, well, yes, it is. And that was point anyway, was it not? From whom or what did a fine young atheist hope to find an absolute answer? On what basis did one expect others to accept this absolute?

If this response irritates (or fails to interest), then ponder the Two Varieties of Atheism–

(a) those who believe that religions are cultures that serve societies both badly and well over time as they were naturally evolved to do, but that happen not to have the God that they usually suppose they do, and

(b) those who believe that religion is “evil,” that religion’s symbols and experiences are entirely arbitrary, and that they so depend on whatever “God” symbolizes that opposing “God” will somehow stop religion.

Neither believes in any given god “x.” However (a) has a humanism that takes evolved cultures seriously, because, God or no God, we will never have any culture that is not a living system that evolved from this one. And (b) believes that s/he is somewhere way above the evolution of the species looking down on its mistakes, judging religions (and maybe cultures) to be among them, and having faith in the possibility of leaping to something new.

Because (a) is a relativist, s/he can afford to be civilized too without any pangs of guilt or indignation; because (b) is an absolutist, s/he finds judging civilization by that absolute to be nearly compulsive. In the face of god-talk, unbelieving (a) is firm about where s/he stands but polite, even friendly to believers, while (b) is cranky, may feel besieged or sarcastic, and wonders how to make people be more secular when they have freely chosen to do the evolved thing. Atheist (a) probably does expect to see religions evolve further as they outgrow “God,” but does not expect to be more clever than the evolving swarm intelligence of millions of people over time. Atheist (b) is looking for some space from all that, a trump card that just one person can whip out in a game going badly today. Neither position is unreasonable, but neither is beyond kindly critique.

In short: while it does matter what one thinks about proposed gods, it matters at least as much whether one still believes in absolutes in the early 21st century, and, if so, why? Personally, it matters how we detach ourselves from unhealthy alliances…

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