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Maciamo
23-11-05, 05:25
Who is an Atheist ?

- Someone who does not believe in the existence of god or deities. God is defined a supernatural and almighty power that created the universe. It does not matter whether this god is personal, impersonal. Deities are supernatural creatures, human-like or not, immortal or not, that make the object of human worship. They include the "spirits of nature" of Animist religions and deified human beings.

- Atheists typically do not believe in the soul or life after death. Yet they may, and usually do believe in the eternity of all matter/energy in the universe, and therefore the eternity of the matter that compose us as human beings. The natural recycling of matter/energy to create new life beings is completely compatible with Atheism. Some call it the cycle of reincarnation, although not bound to a Karma or soul.

Difference between Strong Atheists and Weak Atheists :

- A Strong Atheist denies the possibility of the existence of any god or deity on grounds of reason, logics and/or philosophical thinking.

- A Weak Atheist does not believe or worship any god or deity, but does not hold any particular opinion regarding their existence. They are devoid of religious beliefs.

The Weak Atheist could be a person who has never been exposed to the concept of god/deity and religion, or a person that has so little interest in the question that they did not bother to wonder about their beliefs. Weak Atheists are potential targets for religious conversions - hence the appellation "weak" referring to their beliefs.

Difference between Atheists, Pantheists and Deists :

- Pantheists only differ from Atheists in that they are spiritual. They consider the whole universe as god, and each individual as part of god. Atheists just call it Universe or Nature. Like Atheists, Pantheists may believe in the eternity of the universe and reincarnation by natural recycling of the matter/energy. They typically do not believe in heaven and/or hell, as typical Pantheist god are impersonal and do not judge humans.

- Deists, like Atheists, do not follow any religion or worship any god. However, they do believe in an impersonal god that created the universe and does not interfere in human affairs. Deists may believe in the soul and life after death, although not in a system of reward separated in heaven and hell, as the Deist god does not judge humans. However, like Atheists, Deists may also believe in the eternity of the universe and reincarnation by natural recycling of the matter/energy.

Code of conduct of the Strong Atheist :

You shall refrain from :


worshipping any god or deity.
financing, subsidizing or donating to any religious institution*.
wearing any religious symbols (e.g. a cross-shaped pendant).
using religious exclamations such as "Oh my god !" (these can be replaced by alternatives like "Oh my goodness" without hampering the language).
participating in religious ceremonies or rites, including religious weddings and funerals.
wishing to be buried/cremated in a religious fashion (e.g. in grounds belonging to a church, mosque or temple; in a tomb displaying religious symbols; having religious funerals).


Exceptions can be made in life threatening events due to the religious fanaticism of other humans.

*(2) Historical religious buildings can be subsidised as national/world heritage, but only if they so not belong to religious institutions anymore.

*(5) Festivals with no obvious religious implications (e.g. carnival) can be exempted.

Sensuikan San
23-11-05, 05:40
OH! My goodness!

.... We've just become a religion! :banghead: .... With an established church ? A creed and the beginnings of a scripture?:confused:

... and Maciamo is our high priest?:biggrin:

Can I be an archbishop .... or do I have to be investigated first .... ? :rolleyes:

ジョン

Mikawa Ossan
23-11-05, 05:43
Code of conduct of the Strong Atheist :

You shall refrain from :


worshipping any god or deity.
financing, subsidizing or donating to any religious institution*.
wearing any religious symbols (e.g. a cross-shaped pendant).
using religious exclamations such as "Oh my god !" (these can be replaced by alternatives like "Oh my goodness" without hampering the language).
participating in religious ceremonies or rites, including religious weddings and funerals.
wishing to be buried/cremated in a religious fashion (e.g. in grounds belonging to a church, mosque or temple; in a tomb displaying religious symbols; having religious funerals).


Exceptions can be made in life threatening events due to the religious fanaticism of other humans.
Where do you come up with these things?

In reverse order:

If a strong atheist wishes to be buried in a church, mosque or temple so he or she can be buried with his or her family, then what?

If a strong atheist attends a friend's religious wedding because it means a lot to said friend, then what?

Saying that a strong atheist should refrain from saying things like, "Oh my god!" is akin to saying that feminists should refrain from saying "human", "humanitarianism", etc because of the inclusion of "man".

Why can't a strong atheist wear a religious symbol purely for fashion purposes?

If a strong atheist wishes to donate to a religious or semi-religious institution to further humanitarian work, where is the problem? It's like saying a fundamentalist Christian cannot donate to secular institutions.

I think that being a strong atheist pretty assures one of not worshipping any deity even without a "code".

Maciamo
23-11-05, 05:50
.... We've just become a religion! :banghead: .... With an established church ? A creed and the beginnings of a scripture?:confused:

Not at all. These are just a code, like the Code of the Warrior (Bushido), inculcating some basic values and the proper way to behave if one claims to be a true atheist, or even truly non-religious (even as a Deist or Pantheist).

Maciamo
23-11-05, 06:13
If a strong atheist wishes to be buried in a church, mosque or temple so he or she can be buried with his or her family, then what?

I would never want to be buried with my family if it meant breaching these rules. I have explained this in this thread (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20262) (and mean it).


If a strong atheist attends a friend's religious wedding because it means a lot to said friend, then what?

I only had one irrevocable condition to my wife to get married : no religious wedding, even with a fake priest in a fake chapel in a Japanese hotel. I would never have got married (or stayed) with someone who would not have accepted that. Therefore, I also don't go to my relatives or friends' religious wedding (well, I am not opposed to going to the party after that :p).


Saying that a strong atheist should refrain from saying things like, "Oh my god!" is akin to saying that feminists should refrain from saying "human", "humanitarianism", etc because of the inclusion of "man".

:? That's plain stupid. There is "man" in "woman" too ! And in "command", "demand", "mandatory" and "talisman". It doesn't take a linguist to know that none of these words include the meaning of "maleness".

The Japanese never exclaim "Oh kami-sama !", so why should there be such an expression among Atheist Westerners ? In fact, such expression tend to vary across languages and even countries (the exclamation "Jesus !", for instance, does not exist in French, and is less common in Britain than in the US). French people are more secular than, say Americans, and this is also reflected in their daily language. It is mostly old people who use religion-related exclamations.


Why can't a strong atheist wear a religious symbol purely for fashion purposes?

Doesn't fashion have any meaning to you ? Why do clothes vary across religious groups, cultures and even generations ? Because they mean something. I don't wear a wedding ring at all because that is a religious (probably Christian) tradition. I may understand that a Weak Atheist (someone who doesn't care about such things as religion and philosophy) may not care or even think about the meaning of such religious symbols. But for a Strong Atheist, who knows the connection of religion to these symbols, it is unacceptable to wear them. But I do not oblige my wife not to wear one, as she is a Weak Atheist.


If a strong atheist wishes to donate to a religious or semi-religious institution to further humanitarian work, where is the problem? It's like saying a fundamentalist Christian cannot donate to secular institutions.

There are plenty of non-religious ("neutral") humanitarian institutions, like those of the United Nations. If you are a Strong Atheist and want to donate to humanitarian institutions, then choose the right ones. One problem with people like Mother Theresa or Christian missionaries in developing countries, is that their work is not totally free and benevolent. Their ultimate purpose is to convert people to Christianity, by helping them and showing how "good and charitable people" Christians are (as opposed to others, so they are formenting negative views against non Christians, even indirectly). Most of these missionaries are Catholic, and the more converts they get, the richer the Vatican growths. You have no idea how prenicious and hypocritical those missionaries really are (or at least the people who brainwashed them in the first place). Charities are often all about money (no wonder so much money "disappears" in the hands of the managers of such charities).

Sensuikan San
23-11-05, 06:21
Where do you come up with these things?

In reverse order:

If a strong atheist wishes to be buried in a church, mosque or temple so he or she can be buried with his or her family, then what?

If a strong atheist attends a friend's religious wedding because it means a lot to said friend, then what?

Saying that a strong atheist should refrain from saying things like, "Oh my god!" is akin to saying that feminists should refrain from saying "human", "humanitarianism", etc because of the inclusion of "man".

Why can't a strong atheist wear a religious symbol purely for fashion purposes?

If a strong atheist wishes to donate to a religious or semi-religious institution to further humanitarian work, where is the problem? It's like saying a fundamentalist Christian cannot donate to secular institutions.

I think that being a strong atheist pretty assures one of not worshipping any deity even without a "code".

In more serious vein -I must say that I agree with you there Mikawa Ossan!

In response to the (perhaps rhetorical...) questions you pose:

To "1" : My own feeling is that I would probably leave wishes that I would not wish my remains to be buried, scattered, blown or kicked into "hallowed ground" - it would be, in my mind, an insult to more religious folks who did not agree with me. But, of course, I wouldn't be in a position of final control .... !

To "2" : I have attended many such ceremonies! It is quite possible to attend a service without participating. How many Protestants have attended Catholic weddings or funerals? Jewish weddings? A few (deeply religious) friends even came to my own (non-religious) civil ceremony. As far as I'm aware ... it did not damn them! (But ... I dunno! ... looking at one or two of 'em, now ...... I dunno!)

To "3" : I say "Oh my God!" all the time! Very effective - and much more polite than "Holy 5hit!

To "4" : I must confess - I try to avoid crosses - for "religious" reasons. I also try to avoid pentangles, crescents, hakenkreuz ..... heck! ... I never wear jewellery anyway!

To "5" : I sometimes do give to the Salvation Army. I don't have a problem if I believe the money is going to a proper cause. Whoever collects it doesn't matter to me.

To "6" : Exactly!


Not at all. These are just a code, like the Code of the Warrior (Bushido), inculcating some basic values and the proper way to behave if one claims to be a true atheist, or even truly non-religious (even as a Deist or Pantheist).

I know ... I was pulling your leg!:wavey:

.... However ... once you start putting this stuff down in writing ... you do run the risk of creating a very fine "dividing line" ....?

ジョン

Maciamo
23-11-05, 06:39
How many Protestants have attended Catholic weddings or funerals? Jewish weddings?

They all believe in (the same) god, don't they ? What's the problem with that ? They may only have different practices, but similar beliefs that humans should be united by god. Don't forget that the priest clearly mentions that he proclaims the bride and groom married in the name of god and by the will of god. How could an Atheist accept that ? They then ask if anybody has an objection. As someone attending, I would be lying to myself and others to say that I did not object, as it is just ludicrous to me that people be united by the will or in the name of something that does not exist. Therefore, I would not recognise the validity of that marriage, especially that true Christians think that the laws of god prevail on the laws of humans (so the civil marriage at the town hall is null and void in the heart of true Christians, as the one in church is the only one that counts).


A few (deeply religious) friends even came to my own (non-religious) civil ceremony. As far as I'm aware ... it did not damn them! (But ... I dunno! ... looking at one or two of 'em, now ...... I dunno!)

There are many things religious peope do in everyday life that have no religious significance. Relgious people do non-religious and religious things. Attending is not a problem for them as it is not their own marriage. Religious people anyway have to live with the dilema of the laws of god vs the laws of the government (spiritual vs temporal power), and the dilema of faith vs scientific facts (e.g. the world was not created in 7 days, and they do not drink Christ's blood by normal wine with no supernatural properties in church). I guess that religous people don't have any problem accepting other kind of ceremonies as they are fundamentally hypocritical, self-deceiving and live a life of lies.

Atheists only do and accept non-religious laws, facts and ceremonies.


To "3" : I say "Oh my God!" all the time! Very effective - and much more polite than "Holy 5hit!

What about "holy hell" ? Anyway, "holy" refers to a religious concept. It doesn't mean anything to me, as I am a true Atheist.



.... However ... once you start putting this stuff down in writing ... you do run the risk of creating a very fine "dividing line" ....?


What do you mean by "dividing line" ? Between whom ? Between atheists ?

Sensuikan San
23-11-05, 06:40
The Japanese never exclaim "Oh kami-sama !", so why should there be such an expression among Atheist Westerners ? In fact, such expression tend to vary across languages and even countries (the exclamation "Jesus !", for instance, does not exist in French, and is less common in Britain than in the US). French people are more secular than, say Americans, and this is also reflected in their daily language. It is mostly old people who use religion-related exclamations.



Sorry, Maciamo - but with regard to this quote from your post - just how can you entertain the fact that the "pop-up" under your "rep-points" declares ...

"Maciamo is an awe-inspiring God" ...... ? :clap:



Sorry, mon vieux! I just had to laugh at that one! :beer:

Unconscious ambition?

ジョン

Mikawa Ossan
23-11-05, 06:57
The participants were cooking in a giant "nabe" (casserole) of 5000 litres (6.10m of diametre), for reasons that only the gods can comprehend.Is saying, "Oh my god!" bad, but this is OK?

My problem is that you are arbitrarily trying to impose your ideas about what a strong atheist should be like on other people. Why should your ideas about "proper" behavior for strong atheists be any more valid than mine or anyone else's?

Maciamo
23-11-05, 06:59
Sorry, Maciamo - but with regard to this quote from your post - just how can you entertain the fact that the "pop-up" under your "rep-points" declares ...

"Maciamo is an awe-inspiring God" ...... ? :clap:

Sorry, mon vieux! I just had to laugh at that one! :beer:

Unconscious ambition?

ジョン

Haha, good one ! :D This was obviously intended as a joke. Well I hope nobody believes that I really am an awe-inspiring god. I would be the first surprised. :bikkuri:

Note that I do not mind using the word "god" in itself, for example to discuss about religion or philosophy. In fact, I may well have written that word more than any other people on this forum ! :okashii: What's more, the reputation description changes with the current points (so anybody can get this "title", and they change will time anyway).

I object to expression such as "Oh my god", because it insinuates that the person believes in one god (that is not themselves, shall I mention, otherwise they'd say "Oh me !" :p ). My example was maybe not well chosen. What about expressions like "Jesus !" (which some non-Christans may have adapted to "Geez!" behind the back of Christians ;-) ), or old Belgian women saying "Sainte Marie mere de Dieu !" (Holy Mary mother of God !), which clearly implies that not only they are Christians, but also Catholic. There is no reason using such expressions when one can say "Oh goodness !" or whatever less refined words which the forum won't let me write (the French equivalents of "OMG" or "Jesus !" are "putain", "bordel", "merdre"* or a combination of them :D ).

* "whore, brothel, crap"

Maciamo
23-11-05, 07:05
Is saying, "Oh my god!" bad, but this is OK?

My problem is that you are arbitrarily trying to impose your ideas about what a strong atheist should be like on other people. Why should your ideas about "proper" behavior for strong atheists be any more valid than mine or anyone else's?

Same reply as for Sensuikan above. Using the word "god" is a derisory manner ("reasons that only the gods can comprehend" means "that doesn't make sense"), or to discuss religion is fine. Claiming that you have a god ("Oh my god") is illogical for an atheist. I could exclaim "Oh your god!" in the presence of a religious person though (as a joke, of course). :p

Sensuikan San
23-11-05, 07:21
Look at this folks! Just for once - you can see that the Atheists have soul! We're starting to debate among ourselves! Watch and see how it's done - without "cut 'n paste quotes ... without arguing in circles, and without invoking a "third party"! Here goes .....



They all believe in (the same) god, don't they ? What's the problem with that ? They may only have different practices, but similar beliefs that humans should be united by god. Don't forget that the priest clearly mentions that he proclaims the bride and groom married in the name of god and by the will of god. How could an Atheist accept that ? They then ask if anybody has an objection. As someone attending, I would be lying to myself and others to say that I did not object, as it is just ludicrous to me that people be united by the will or in the name of something that does not exist. Therefore, I would not recognise the validity of that marriage, especially that true Christians think that the laws of god prevail on the laws of humans (so the civil marriage at the town hall is null and void in the heart of true Christians, as the one in church is the only one that counts).

Surely, you would have to ask the question as to wether or not they were actually in love, would you not? Or that there might be other impeding issues of a serious nature, like bigamy or incest ... or I dunno...

Just disagreeing with a silly ceremony, that you say yourself, is of no consequence ... just .... is of no consequence! In your eyes and mine ... they are still married (they will have undoubtedly had the civil/town ceremony and be married at law). So ... what's the sweat? We just don't recognise or even believe, the secular marriage.




There are many things religious peope do in everyday life that have no religious significance. Relgious people do non-religious and religious things. Attending is not a problem for them as it is not their own marriage. Religious people anyway have to live with the dilema of the laws of god vs the laws of the government (spiritual vs temporal power), and the dilema of faith vs scientific facts (e.g. the world was not created in 7 days, and they do not drink Christ's blood by normal wine with no supernatural properties in church).

Agreed. So ... if it's not a problem for them ... why should similiar action be a problem for me?




Atheists only do and accept non-religious laws, facts and ceremonies.

Agreed.




What about "holy hell" ? Anyway, "holy" refers to a religious concept. It doesn't mean anything to me, as I am a true atheist.

It means nothing to me either. So why should it bother me or anybody else if I utter it?




What do you mean by "dividing line" ? Between whom ? Between atheists ?

Ah! Good question!

As an atheist, one of the things that irritates ... enrages me about organised religion is the concept of converting.

I want to be my own person, misguided or not. One of the great beauties and freedoms of atheism, surely, is the freedom to be your own self ... with values and opinions that are truly your own.

If there is to be a "code" or "creed" - who is to write it? Whose values should we espouse? Mine? Yours? The "Super-atheist's"?

That would make someone a "God" or a "Disciple" or "Prophet", would it not?

That would start to turn "Atheism" ... into a "Religion" ... would it not ...?

That would be the dividing line which would make our own argument redundant, would it not?

Or would it prove what we have all been saying all along? Religion is man-made!

ジョン

TwistedMac
23-11-05, 07:22
I consider myself a strong atheist, but I wouldn't stop saying "oh my god" because of that. its just a saying to me and I hold no value in what it's supposed to mean or where it came from.

I also have no problem in participating in religious rites such as someone's wedding or burial. It makes no difference to me, so if someone else thinks this is important and that I should join in, why should I selfishly refuse that on the grounds that it's religious. If religion is a fairytale (which I consider it to be) then it's not really important enough for me to get hated by my family/friends over.

Sensuikan San
23-11-05, 07:22
Only four of us?

Where's everybody else?

Sorry!

ジョン

Maciamo
23-11-05, 07:55
Surely, you would have to ask the question as to wether or not they were actually in love, would you not?

In my eyes, marriage is not really necessary. My wife wanted it (because Japanese women are still quite traditional in this regard), but otherwise we would not have got married. I didn't have any religious ceremony and don't wear a ring; people can get divorced in 5min in Japan, and there is also no fiscal advantage in Japan; so, what is really marriage but a piece of paper and a party ? What would be the difference with a couple living together and having a party to celebrate their long-lasting relationship, apart from the paperwork ? Marriage has no power to stop people cheating. This is a problem that only the couple can deal with, married or not (hence the absurdity of the wedding ring).


So ... what's the sweat? We just don't recognise or even believe, the secular marriage.

Maybe to make it clear that I do not approve of their religion, and disagree on something much deeper than just a ceremony...


Agreed. So ... if it's not a problem for them ... why should similiar action be a problem for me?

Because for me Atheism represent the values of reasons, logics, and not lying to oneself. Religious people are expert at deceiving themselves and others, so it's fine for them. But when I disagree with someone or something, I say it - especially when it's related to philosophy.


It means nothing to me either. So why should it bother me or anybody else if I utter it?
...
I want to be my own person, misguided or not. One of the great beauties and freedoms of atheism, surely, is the freedom to be your own self ... with values and opinions that are truly your own.

If there is to be a "code" or "creed" - who is to write it? Whose values should we espouse? Mine? Yours? The "Super-atheist's"?

That would make someone a "God" or a "Disciple" or "Prophet", would it not?

That would start to turn "Atheism" ... into a "Religion" ... would it not ...?

I intended this "code" more as a guideline, or "voluntary code of conduct", not a compulsory law or (religious) commandment. It's not a religion because it claims to be man-made from the start (religions typically claim divine illumination or intervention). Because it is so succinct, flexible and voluntary (rather than rigid and absolute), and recognises no place of worship, no deity and no phophet, you can hardly compare it to a religion. If you do, then any moral rule, or even company rule or state law is a religion as well. Actually, laws and company rules are less flexible (the can be amended though) and not voluntary.

Mikawa Ossan
23-11-05, 10:13
You must be very lonely in life. I genuinely feel sorry for you. I'm sorry, I have nothing more to say on this topic.

Index
23-11-05, 11:14
I would never want to be buried with my family if it meant breaching these rules.

Maciamo you are a fundamentalist atheist! ;-)

Mycernius
23-11-05, 12:28
I'm another strong atheist. You might have gathered that from other threads that I have posted on. With respect to some points:

wearing any religious symbols (e.g. a cross-shaped pendant).
Like Sensuikan san I am not a waerer of jewelry, but I find that most people who wear religious symbols of some kind do have leanings towards that particular religion. I found out someone was a wiccan by the pentacle she was wearing. The St. Christopher pendant or the cross worn by people will usually indicate that, if not very religious, will have some faith in God.

using religious exclamations such as "Oh my god !" (these can be replaced by alternatives like "Oh my goodness" without hampering the language).
I have used these. They mean nothing to me. They have entered the modern English language the way most words or saying do. How many people say "touch wood" or avoid walking under ladders. Both have their roots in Christian supersition, but very few people know how they are related to it. "Touch wood" has become a phrase without any religous link to it. English is a highly dynamic language. What may have one meaning one day will change, especially slang phrases.

participating in religious ceremonies or rites, including religious weddings and funerals.
I go to wedding and funerals out of respect of friends that have invited me, or a family members. I do not partake in the proceeding, I just like to be there. I will not pray or sing or give donations or any other else that is normally associated with the religion. I attended the rembrance day service recently held in our towns park for the war dead. Why? Because it show respect to the people who died for my country, not because it was a religious cermony. I will not pray or sing at these gatherings, but respect is needed in the atheist camp towards other people feelings. We go on about the lack of respect relgions have towards each other. As an atheist I feel that we can rise above these petty squabbles. If not we are as bad as the religions we rally against.

wishing to be buried/cremated in a religious fashion (e.g. in grounds belonging to a church, mosque or temple; in a tomb displaying religious symbols; having religious funerals).
I have mentioned that I do not wish a religious cermony when I finally shuffle off the mortal coil, but I will be dead. Any religious cermony used will not bother me. It will not be my problem. I do like the idea of a natural buriel though. Put me in the ground and plant a tree on top of me. In a thousand yaers time my remains will be part of a forest and no-one will know where I lie, same as everyone else.

Only four of us?

Where's everybody else?

Sorry!

ジョン
I'm here. If you have these type of coversations at night (UK time) then you must wait for the rest of us to wake up.

Tsuyoiko
23-11-05, 13:25
Only four of us?

Where's everybody else?

Sorry!

ジョンWell I'm not Mycernius' friend anymore, 'cos he beat me to most of what I was going to say - including the fact I was asleep when you guys were having this heated debate! :D

When I first came to this forum I had certain convictions about Nature that I still have, but back then I wasn't sure whether my concept of Nature could be equated with belief in a god. Now I know it can't, largely thanks to some discussions with Maciamo :thankyou: So like everyone else so far, I'm a strong atheist.

However, one of the main reasons I came away from religion was deontology. I just don't believe in rules. I am a weak utilitarian - I believe in assessing each situation on its own merits, though not necessarily with happiness as the goal.

Also, although my philosophy, my reason and my principles are very important to me, so are other people's feelings. So when it comes to any cross-over between my life and religion, I take into account my principles, the feelings of everyone involved and I also consider consequences.

So in reference to Maciamo's code, here are my feelings:

worshipping any god or deity

Obviously I will always choose to refrain from this, otherwise I wouldn't be an atheist

financing, subsidizing or donating to any religious institution

I would weigh up the value of their work against their religious convictions. The main charity I support is Oxfam, because although it has Christian roots it does great work that does not include missionary work. (Plus I like their fair trade tea:blush:) I do not support The Salvation Army, as they are missionaries, and I feel that their charity work is only a means to their religious proselytising (wow, I really struggled to spell that!).

wearing any religious symbols (e.g. a cross-shaped pendant)

I wear crosses (which predate Christianity) occasionally, and I have some 'religious' ornaments in the house, like a stained glass pentacle. I see these as mythological symbols and if I like the way they look that's enough. I would never wear a crucifix though, or have one in the house. They are exclusively Christian symbols, and anyway, I find that image inappropriate for public display.

using religious exclamations such as "Oh my god !" (these can be replaced by alternatives like "Oh my goodness" without hampering the language)

As Mycernius says, they're just figures of speech, like superstitious sayings. There are probably words in many languages that you can't avoid using , but which have a religious etymology. I'll think of one eventually.

participating in religious ceremonies or rites, including religious weddings and funerals.

Now this is the one I feel most strongly about. I had a civil wedding because I don't believe in getting married in church unless you regularly attend church. I also could not usually participate in a religious ceremony, as I could not lie about my most fundamental beliefs. But as Sen-san has so rightly pointed out, there is a difference between participating and merely attending. And as I have said, weighing up others' feelings and any consequences is also important, so I do attend such ceremonies. Most recently I attended my neice's Christening. I did not join in with the hymns and prayers, and the sermon made me very uncomfortable, but I endured it for the sake of family.

Four-and-a-half years ago I had a more difficult dilemma at the Christening of my other neice. My sister-in-law asked me to be godmother. I accepted, but it made me more ill than I have ever been in my life - including being referred to the hospital for tests. I had no wish to say things I vehemently do not believe, but I thought I could not avoid doing so if I accepted. But I am not close to my in-laws, and have never discussed my convictions with them - they don't know I'm an atheist. It seemed a generous gesture of my sister-in-law to think of me, and I didn't want to seem ungrateful. Also, they are very difficult people to get along with, and it was almost certain that if I refused it would have serious repercussions on our already fragile relationship. So I accepted, because on balance it seemed to lead to the most favourable outcome. Still, on the day I was in a state, which of course I had to hide. But when it came to the moment of truth, I was supposed to recite some (apologies) crap in unison with the other two godparents. Luckily no-one noticed that I didn't join in.

wishing to be buried/cremated in a religious fashion (e.g. in grounds belonging to a church, mosque or temple; in a tomb displaying religious symbols; having religious funerals).

I think my family is unofficially aware of my wishes - to be cremated in a secular ceremony then scattered on Glastonbury Tor. But if I go before my parents, I think they would want a religious ceremony. It is incredibly unusual not to have a religious cermony in the UK (probably one in a thousand, if that), and I would rather save my parents any embarrasment. After all, what will I know about it? But if, as seems likely, they go first, I will insist on a secular ceremony.

Mycernius
23-11-05, 13:52
I have always been very open about my opinion on religion. Whenever any of my friends have had children they know not to ask me about being a godparent. They know I will say no. I believe that christenings should be left until the individual is old enough to make the discission themselves. I never had the choice and have told my parents it is the one thing that I am annoyed at. To their defence, when I was born it was the normal thing to do.

Index
23-11-05, 16:23
Godparents have a function though, its not just a purely religious thing. They are the ones who are supposed to look after you if your parents are unable to. Christmas and Easter, despite their religious origins, are occassions to spend time with your family, take part in traditions, so they have a purpose too. To give up such things on principle might be somewhat antisocial, or point out an inability to see beyond one dimension...

Tsuyoiko
23-11-05, 16:58
I have always been very open about my opinion on religion. Whenever any of my friends have had children they know not to ask me about being a godparent. They know I will say no. I believe that christenings should be left until the individual is old enough to make the discission themselves. I never had the choice and have told my parents it is the one thing that I am annoyed at. To their defence, when I was born it was the normal thing to do.You're lucky your friends are so understanding. I know Simon's family just wouldn't comprehend that I feel so strongly. His sister has had both her kids Christened Methodist, but she never goes to church and she drinks like a fish. I suppose you would call them 'weak Christians'. I am too afraid of the likely consequences to make my feelings known - not because I'm a wimp, but because I don't want to cause an argument unnecessarily.

I was Christened as a baby too, because as you say, it was the done thing. I don't feel bad about it, as I was brought up going to church, but my parents let me leave when I was old enough to decide for myself.


Christmas and Easter, despite their religious origins, are occassions to spend time with your family, take part in traditions, so they have a purpose tooTrue. I celebrate Christmas because it has its roots in winter solstice celebrations. That is certainly something an atheist can celebrate - the fact that the nights are starting to get shorter. And I celebrate Halloween because it's fun.

Maciamo
23-11-05, 18:00
Regarding the Christening, I agree with Mycernius. I would never become godfather (in that sense at least :p), because just the name and the idea to have to attend a Christian ceremony in a church freaks me out. I am not sure every Christian (or Catholic) country has the same tradition, but in my family, children are usually given their godparents' names as middle names.


Godparents have a function though, its not just a purely religious thing. They are the ones who are supposed to look after you if your parents are unable to.

The Japanese have no such tradition and it seems to be alright. :-) Anyway, I have never heard of anybody being taken care of by their godparents rather than the real parents.


Christmas and Easter, despite their religious origins, are occassions to spend time with your family, take part in traditions, so they have a purpose too. To give up such things on principle might be somewhat antisocial, or point out an inability to see beyond one dimension...

I prefer being antisocial than go against my beliefs. I haven't attended any Xmas or Easter family events for years, and already reluctanctly went to them when my parents still had some sort of authority to forced me to attend (about until the age of 16). I don't mind New Year family gathering though - just to say that I do not reject my whole family. I still can't accept that some people in my family could never understand that I did/do not want to attend Xmas parties because in my eyes it celebrates the birth of one of the men whose life has caused the greatest number of violent deaths, tortures and sufferings in the world. I'd be more comfortable celebrating the birth of lesser demons like Hitler or Stalin than Christ (you can imagine that older people in my family are shocked when I tell them just that). If the can't understand that (even if they do not accept it personally), I don't need to meet them anymore. That would make us irreconciably different.


I am too afraid of the likely consequences to make my feelings known - not because I'm a wimp, but because I don't want to cause an argument unnecessarily.

I guess it's a matter of personality. I have always been outspoken to the point of putting myself in unnecessary troubles (e.g. at school for telling teachers what I thought of them, or pointing out their mistake in front of the whole class). Of course I am kinder with people I appreciate, and will even protect them (verbally) if I see they need help. :-) We can choose our friends, but not our family...


I celebrate Christmas because it has its roots in winter solstice celebrations.

I don't mind having a sort of party of Xmas eve or Xmas day, as long as there is no baby Jesus and company, religious celebration, mass or anything related to Christianity. So it's just like any other day, and I can decide to go to the restaurant or cinema with my wife, meet some friends, or do nothing special, depending on my mood, just like any regular day off (if it is a day off, which isn't the case in Japan). The problem in my family is that it is almost unthinkable to have a Xmas party without a nativity scene.

Halloween (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween) also has (Celtic) pagan roots, which makes a bit more acceptable (like Carnival). Anyway, I haven't heard any direct reference to religion at Halloween (maybe that's because it was in Japan ?)

Maciamo
23-11-05, 18:48
You must be very lonely in life. I genuinely feel sorry for you. I'm sorry, I have nothing more to say on this topic.

I suppose that this was directed to me. I don't know why you say that. There are over 6 billion people in the world. If only 1% of them were Atheists or compatible (Deists, Pantheists...), that would give me the opportunity to have 60 million people who share my views. In fact, there much more than that. Japan and China are both predominantly non-religious, and quite a lot of younger Europeans as well. You can see that only on this forum, which is composed mostly of Westerners (including a majority of Americans, known to be more religious than Europeans), about 50% are Atheists, Deists or Pantheists and about 19% Agnostics according to this poll (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12936), and 38.5% Atheists, Deists or Pantheists and 8% Agnostics according to this poll (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3057) (a bit older, with more misleading questions).So the majority here is non-religious anyway.

As for loneliness, in addition to some of the great people on this forum, I am married and have a few selected friends, who, if not atheists, are at least non religious enough for us to enjoy a good relationship. You can't have hundreds of friends, as only a few at a time can be real friends. When I was talking about my family before, I was especially referring to some of my numerous cousins (about 30 of them), and my uncles and aunts (I could also include my mother, but not my father in this regard). It's difficult to be lonely with a family of more than 50 people... It's even necessary to pick and choose those with whom you can get on, and those with whom it is probably too hard.

Anyway, in Japan I don't really have to worry about religion. But the Japanese often have other problems of compatibility (hypocritical racism, lack of interest in intellectual subjects...). Yet, it's always possible to find a few people with whom you get on and even agree on almost everything. They are rare everywhere, especially for someone who is in the minority both religiously and intellectually. But it's worth looking for them ! The Internet provides immense possibilities in this regard.

Tsuyoiko
23-11-05, 19:21
I still can't accept that some people in my family could never understand that I did/do not want to attend Xmas parties because in my eyes it celebrates the birth of one of the men whose life has caused the greatest number of violent deaths, tortures and sufferings in the world. I'd be more comfortable celebrating the birth of lesser demons like Hitler or Stalin than ChristI think that's unfair. I don't think it is Jesus' life that has caused these things, but the twisting of his teachings by others - starting with Paul. There is a lot in the teachings of Jesus that even an atheist can appreciate. Would you demonise Nietzsche because the Nazis twisted his philosophy?
As for loneliness, in addition to some of the great people on this forum, I am married and have a few selected friends, who, if not atheists, are at least non religious enough for us to enjoy a good relationshipI agree with you on having only a few selected friends, but I can be friends with religious people. Out of the six people I would call good friends there is one evangelist Christian, two agnostics and three Wiccans. Although we disagree on spiritual matters, there is other stuff that we have in common. Even the things we disagree on can lead to some interesting discussions. All my atheist friends are online, and threads like this give me plenty of scope for talking with like-minded people, philosophically speaking.
The Internet provides immense possibilities in this regard.I have more friends online than in real life. Is that healthy?:worried:

Mycernius
23-11-05, 23:47
I think that's unfair. I don't think it is Jesus' life that has caused these things, but the twisting of his teachings by others - starting with Paul. There is a lot in the teachings of Jesus that even an atheist can appreciate. Would you demonise Nietzsche because the Nazis twisted his philosophy?
This is a very good point. Other people turned him into the object of worship he is today. When you take apart the religion and so called miracles from his life, his action was non-violent means to change the world for the better. Unfortunatly he never left any of his own words. All his life is written down by avid followers. I think he might have put things differently if he ever put down his thoughts. His life created a cult and he became more than mortal in his followers eyes. Mao Tse Tung and Hitler created a similar cult of personality during their lifetimes. In fact the cult of Mao is still strong in some people.

I agree with you on having only a few selected friends, but I can be friends with religious people. Out of the six people I would call good friends there is one evangelist Christian, two agnostics and three Wiccans. Although we disagree on spiritual matters, there is other stuff that we have in common. Even the things we disagree on can lead to some interesting discussions. All my atheist friends are online, and threads like this give me plenty of scope for talking with like-minded people, philosophically speaking.I have more friends online than in real life. Is that healthy?:worried:
I have a few religious friends. One of them is a born again Christian. Even his politics are different to mine. We just do not talk about these subjects. We respect each others views and do not try to convert each other, whether it is God or Labour verses Tory. My cousin, who I would once class as an agnostic come weak atheist, is now a commited Baptist. Even she doesn't get on at me about my views. Maybe I have a fairly open minded family when it comes to relgion. Her husband was shocked, though. He is Catholic from Italian background. He kept introducing to his friends as The Devil. I had to point out to him that the Devil is as real to me as God. He then changed to Satanist. Slightly better, as Satanist actually refers to anyone who doesn't worship, or is part of one of the Abrahamic religions. It's amazing how some people get slightly annoyed when trying to insult someone you point out flaws in their insults.

I don't mind having a sort of party of Xmas eve or Xmas day, as long as there is no baby Jesus and company, religious celebration, mass or anything related to Christianity. So it's just like any other day, and I can decide to go to the restaurant or cinema with my wife, meet some friends, or do nothing special, depending on my mood, just like any regular day off
Same here. I treat it as a typical day off, just with more food. I even go off to the pub with my father for a few pints. Maybe because England is a protestant country, we don't have the more religious overtones at Christmas. There are those that will have baby Jesus, shepherds, wisemen and the entire farmyard and friends, but I find most of them in the minority. Or I just don't notice it. As a whole the UK is not an overly religious country.

Doc
24-11-05, 00:38
There are four atheists that I respect the most on this forum and they are Mycernius, Kinsao, Tsuyoiko, and MikeCash. Why do I respect these four atheists the most? It is because they are all open minded and accepting people. In other words, they respect you whether you are an atheist or not. To that, my hat goes off to you people. :-)

As for me, I would like to consider myself a Christian, but on a very liberal and open-minded scheme. I am not a huge fan of organized religion because of all the fundamentalism and misinterpretation of The Bible, and if I had to associate myself with any denomination, it would be with the Episcopalian (since it is the only church that is not into religious fundamentalism). Now that does not mean that some church goers are not fundamentalist in belief, but the church overall denounces such notations as being ignorant and close-minded. I agree that if the founding writers of the OT and especially Jesus saw the interpretation of their words today they would be absolutely shocked. It really is quite sad when people refuse to look at The Bible in a critical point of view (hell even the atheists in my class respect the OT a lot more when looking in that point of view). For me I mostly look at religion from a philosophical point of view rather than a theology point of view. To me it makes the most sense, and it is a hell of a lot more open-minded too.

I have nothing against atheists nor do I really care if they do not believe in intelligent design. I have respect for atheists just as much as I have respect for those who believe in some sort of religion. Everybody is entitled to their opinion on the matter and their belief. If you really get down to it, we really do not know what there was before the big bang. Sure, we can speculate, but all the science in the world can never truly understand what was there before. That is why it does not matter if you believe in intelligent design or not because we will never truly know. There is no right or wrong answer. This brings me to my next point. The only thing I cannot stand is loud-mouthed atheists who like to babble nonstop about how religion is evil and that atheism is the savior for humanity, and literally turns atheism into a freaking religion complete with a bible and all. They are just as bad if not worse than the morons who preach that The Bible will save humanity. If you cannot stand the fact that there is a lot unknown that we will never know through science, then do not even bother talking about. It shows that you are a closed-minded, loud-mouthed, hypocritical bastard in the end. So on that note, I salute to the four atheists that I mentioned earlier because you guys give humanity and open-minded thought a good name.:cool:


As a whole the UK is not an overly religious country.

Sorry my wookie friend, I could not resist! :evil:

Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%
Muslim 2.7%
Hindu 1%
other 1.6%
unspecified or none 23.1%

Doc :wave:

kumo
24-11-05, 03:15
There are four atheists that I respect the most on this forum and they are Mycernius, Kinsao, Tsuyoiko, and MikeCash.

I don't think Kinsao and MikeCash are atheists...Actually, I'm pretty sure they are not.


As for me, I would like to consider myself a Christian, but on a very liberal and open-minded scheme. I am not a huge fan of organized religion because of all the fundamentalism and misinterpretation of The Bible, and if I had to associate myself with any denomination, it would be with the Episcopalian (since it is the only church that is not into religious fundamentalism). Now that does not mean that some church goers are not fundamentalist in belief, but the church overall denounces such notations as being ignorant and close-minded. I agree that if the founding writers of the OT and especially Jesus saw the interpretation of their words today they would be absolutely shocked. It really is quite sad when people refuse to look at The Bible in a critical point of view (hell even the atheists in my class respect the OT a lot more when looking in that point of view).

Don't you think that refusing to consider the idea that the writers of the bible actually intended a literal interpretation is closed minded too? Maybe they wrote such obvious myths because they simply didn't know any better.


If you really get down to it, we really do not know what there was before the big bang. Sure, we can speculate, but all the science in the world can never truly understand what was there before.

What was there before? Do you realize that to "before" exist it's necessary that time exists too, right? Time was created about 10^-6 seconds after the big bang if I remember correctly, so talking about what 'was there before' is utterly meaningless.


The only thing I cannot stand is loud-mouthed atheists who like to babble nonstop about how religion is evil and that atheism is the savior for humanity, and literally turns atheism into a freaking religion complete with a bible and all.

I've personally never met someone like that, not even in the internet. The term 'strawman' comes to mind... It seems you have a quite broader standard
for calling someone a fundamentalist when it comes to atheists.


Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%
Muslim 2.7%
Hindu 1%
other 1.6%
unspecified or none 23.1%


I think Mycernius was refering to the attitude towards religion in the UK, not the percentage of religious people. I can't speak from personal experience, but it seems to me that the sentiment towards religion in the UK is one of complete apathy. I wouldn't be surprised if half of these (cultural) christians were actually agnostics, since it seems that most people don't even care enough to think about what to call themselves.

Maciamo
24-11-05, 03:22
I think that's unfair. I don't think it is Jesus' life that has caused these things, but the twisting of his teachings by others - starting with Paul. There is a lot in the teachings of Jesus that even an atheist can appreciate.

But Jesus did call himself the son of god (if he ever existed, at least). He also told people that his Father was the only god, that his laws were the only laws, and to spread his word throughout the world. This has given the grounds for an exclusive, intolerant and proselytising religion. It also caused tens of thousands of early Christians to be persecuted because they did not want to pay taxes to a non Christian state. Jesus claimed that people could turn wine and bread into holy blood and flesh, or that they would go to paradise if they believed in him, even if they had to die for their faith. Many true Christians have believed him for centuries, distorting their reality and endangering their lives. So, no I don't think I am being so unfair.


Is that healthy?:worried:

That's pretty normal I would say. It is physically much more difficult to meet people (esp. from so many countries) in real life than on the Net.

bossel
24-11-05, 03:59
Who is an Atheist ?
I am.


- A Strong Atheist denies the possibility of the existence of any god or deity on grounds of reason, logics and/or philosophical thinking.
Which would make me a weak atheist, since I don't deny the possibility (to deny the possibility, you'd have to have much more knowledge than is available to mankind at the moment). The probability for the existence of some supernatural being is so low, though, that it's negligible.


- A Weak Atheist does not believe or worship any god or deity, but does not hold any particular opinion regarding their existence. They are devoid of religious beliefs.
Hmm? I am devoid, but hold a particular opinion. :?


Weak Atheists are potential targets for religious conversions - hence the appellation "weak" referring to their beliefs.
I don't have a belief (& don't seem to have the ability to believe), don't even know how that would work. How could I be converted?


worshipping any god or deity.
- should be obvious

financing, subsidizing or donating to any religious institution*.
- Hmm, don't have money, anyway.

wearing any religious symbols (e.g. a cross-shaped pendant).
- Ooops, wearing a small jade Buddha round my neck. I'm a sinner! Do I need to repent?

using religious exclamations such as "Oh my god !" (these can be replaced by alternatives like "Oh my goodness" without hampering the language).
- Ach, well, that's just a manner of speech not belief. There are so many religious items in everyday speech, it would be hard to eliminate them all (& it would definitely hamper your ability to communicate).

participating in religious ceremonies or rites, including religious weddings and funerals.
- Never participate in such events, anyway.


wishing to be buried/cremated in a religious fashion (e.g. in grounds belonging to a church, mosque or temple; in a tomb displaying religious symbols; having religious funerals).
- Don't care what happens to my body after death (I'll be dead, after all). Where does that fit in?


*(5) Festivals with no obvious religious implications (e.g. carnival) can be exempted.
What are "obvious religious implications"?


I'd be more comfortable celebrating the birth of lesser demons like Hitler or Stalin than Christ
Contrary to Jesus (see my response to Mycernius & Tsuyoiko), Hitler & Stalin are proven guilty.


Anyway, I haven't heard any direct reference to religion at Halloween
Direct reference? As with carnival, wearing masks is religious tradition, hence there is something obvious. But, really, if you don't believe in this crap, why not wear it just for fun?





I don't think it is Jesus' life that has caused these things, but the twisting of his teachings by others

Other people turned him into the object of worship he is today.
If he actually existed & if he said & taught what is in the NT, he was quite guilty of turning himself into an object of worship. Since we don't know if he existed & definitely don't know what he actually wanted, though, we can't blame him personally.



It really is quite sad when people refuse to look at The Bible in a critical point of view
I think, most atheists with a Christian environment do have a rather critical point of view here.


There is no right or wrong answer.
Of course there is. We only don't know yet.


If you cannot stand the fact that there is a lot unknown that we will never know through science
Is it a fact? Which fortune teller said so?


Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%
Muslim 2.7%
Hindu 1%
other 1.6%
unspecified or none 23.1%
That statistic doesn't really say that much, there are many people who are only nominally Christian.

Maciamo
24-11-05, 04:52
Which would make me a weak atheist, since I don't deny the possibility (to deny the possibility, you'd have to have much more knowledge than is available to mankind at the moment). The probability for the existence of some supernatural being is so low, though, that it's negligible.

I see your point. I forgot to mention Agnostics... You are probably half-way between Strong Atheist and Agnosticist, although closer to the former (from what you say).



wearing any religious symbols (e.g. a cross-shaped pendant).
- Ooops, wearing a small jade Buddha round my neck. I'm a sinner! Do I need to repent?

Buddha never called himself god, didn't pretend to be his messenger or anything of the sort. I would consider the "original Buddhism" as a form of Pantheism, or even Atheism. Buddhist gods only came later in the Mahayana branch of Buddhism (only).



using religious exclamations such as "Oh my god !" (these can be replaced by alternatives like "Oh my goodness" without hampering the language).
- Ach, well, that's just a manner of speech not belief. There are so many religious items in everyday speech, it would be hard to eliminate them all (& it would definitely hamper your ability to communicate).

I see that many people disagree with me on that one...



- Don't care what happens to my body after death (I'll be dead, after all). Where does that fit in?

I feel the same way. I won't care once I am dead, but religious ceremonies and tombs cost a lot of money (count several millions yen in Japan). Who pays for that ? The family or heirs. As it's a waste of money and I didn't wish for it anyway, it's as well mention that you don't want that.


What are "obvious religious implications"?

Carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary through the streets (as in some festivals in Spain and Belgium), or such things...


Contrary to Jesus (see my response to Mycernius & Tsuyoiko), Hitler & Stalin are proven guilty.
...
If he actually existed & if he said & taught what is in the NT, he was quite guilty of turning himself into an object of worship. Since we don't know if he existed & definitely don't know what he actually wanted, though, we can't blame him personally.

Guilty or not guilty ? I would agree that if he existed he was guilty of turning himself into an object of worship. If he did not exist in real life, he is just an idea in our minds, so cannot be "guilty", but for sure is not to be celebrated at Xmas, for that idea of "Jesus" has caused many sufferings.


That statistic doesn't really say that much, there are many people who are only nominally Christian.

I completely agree. Some statistics show that Belgium is 98% Catholics. :confused: Among people of my generation (e.g. at school) and younger, I can only recall a few people being really Catholic, while most were Agnostic, Deist or Atheist (few Pantheist and Neo-pagans, interestingly, unlike in the UK).

Maciamo
24-11-05, 05:13
I don't think Kinsao and MikeCash are atheists...Actually, I'm pretty sure they are not.

I am also pretty sure they are not Atheists, because they said so or implied it many times.


Don't you think that refusing to consider the idea that the writers of the bible actually intended a literal interpretation is closed minded too? Maybe they wrote such obvious myths because they simply didn't know any better.

I agree. We have seen that human societies have improved a lot over the centuries (with a few backwards step in medieval Europe). So how could people living 2000, 3000 or 4000 years ago have been more enlightened than us now ? If the writers of the OT were so "intelligent" as to write in riddles on which meaning billions of Christians over centuries have not yet agreed, how comes they lived in what we would now call "slums", and were so technologically and scientifically backwards ? (even for their time, compared to the Greeks and Romans, whose homeland wasn't much bigger).


What was there before? Do you realize that to "before" exist it's necessary that time exists too, right? Time was created about 10^-6 seconds after the big bang if I remember correctly, so talking about what 'was there before' is utterly meaningless.

If you believe that the Big Bang was indeed the beginning of the universe (what Christians call the "Creation"). It has been suggested that there had been many Big Bangs at different places in the universe, as some galaxies were shown to evolve in directions opposite to our Big Bang, and others were older than our Big Bang. I personally believe that neither time nor the universe were created. I see the universe as eternal in the past and future, because it doesn't make sense otherwise (nothing can appear out of nothing; and everything cannot disappear into nothing).

We humans, with limited life, limited intellectual capacities, living in a world where everything can be measured compared to our tiny existences, need to define a beginning and an end for everything. But the universe is an exception, as it represents all that exist (and is most probably infinite). "To create" something only means to change the properties of matter/energy. You can create a table out of wood, itself taken from a tree, that grew from minerals and water, maybe on the remains of other organic beings, etc. To create an idea in our mind is just creating some connections between neurons. To create the universe is a non-sense, as there is nothing bigger than the whole, and nothing that exist that cannot belong to existence, and all existence is the universe (by definition).

Doc
24-11-05, 05:15
Mike is my hero. :love: I love ya you wookie!!! :-) Mac and Bossel you do realize I was just giving food for thought with those comments. You can take them for a grain of salt for all I care. Personally I find Carl Sagan facinating, as well as, many of the scientific theories proposed by him and other scientists, but I am a pragmatist, not an empiricist so my mode of thinking is a bit different than yours. ;-)

Doc :wave:

Doc
24-11-05, 05:56
I am also pretty sure they are not Atheists, because they said so or implied it many times.

Hmm, that's odd because I believe MikeCash told me that he was indeed an atheist in another thread. Actually now that I think about it he did because him and jack2 were talking about being atheists and how atheists are more moral than theologists. As for Kinsao I do not think she has directly stated it, but the way she posts sounds like she is indeed an atheist. I may be wrong about her, but MikeCash I do believe is indeed an atheist if I remember our converstation that we had about a month before.

Doc :wave:

Revenant
24-11-05, 06:15
Kinsao said she can't help not believing in God, even if she would actually like to be an atheist. Perhaps I'm agnostic or just a weak atheist. I find religions fascinating, but I am not for atheism nor am I against religions.

In my time discussing religions on the net, I have found two groups of people a little annoying at times. The highly fundamentalist Christians and some of the strong atheists. Both would argue their side to the end, stubbornly refusing to see another side.

Index
24-11-05, 06:46
The Japanese have no such tradition and it seems to be alright. :-) Anyway, I have never heard of anybody being taken care of by their godparents rather than the real parents.



So are you suggesting that you and Japan are the sum total of knowledge and cultural authority (respectively) that exists? Leads to a bit of a paradox, doesn't it, especially in light of how many things about Japan annoy you ;-)

Anyway, godparents look after children when the parents are unable to, if they die for example. That is the practical purpose of that custom/tradition/ritual.


I did/do not want to attend Xmas parties because in my eyes it celebrates the birth of one of the men whose life has caused the greatest number of violent deaths, tortures and sufferings in the world.

That's a bit one sided don't you think? There are many followers of Jesus who try to be open-minded, understanding, constructive. In any case, I find it suprising that you would use such an argument considering your level of politial awareness. I'm sure it's not news to you that religion has been used as a toolby politicians and leaders to justify or motivate war. If the concept of religion was not available there would no doubt be other concepts that could be drawn on to justify war. I hope you don't think the current problems related to Iraq or "fundamentalis terrorism" are based in religion. I might be tempted to buy that argument from anyone els but you Maciamo.


I don't mind New Year family gathering though - just to say that I do not reject my whole family.
Arguably such events as Christmas or Easter have the purpose of bringing cohesion to family units or social groups. Don't you acknowledge this? To say that these are celebrations of "Jesus' evil influence" or something like that is too one dimensional anyway. It depends on your interpretation of Christianity's teachings. If your religion was science or "rationality", you could just as easily identify aspects of it which have led to human suffering (one example is Mengele's scientific/medical experiments in Ausczwitz). The point is that you are the one who constructs your own version of reality by determining in your mind and through your speech which aspects of Christmas you might be celebrating.

Revenant
24-11-05, 07:10
Reading through this thread more carefully, I would like to touch on a couple of points.

First, there are scholars who going back to the first known manuscripts have put forth an argument that Jesus actually never claimed to be the messiah. He used words like, 'I am the truth, the way, and the life', but that isn't very different from some of the words that the Buddha used, and the Buddha never claimed to be a diety, but just a savior of sorts.

Also, according to one scholar of religion, that being Karen Armstrong, she put forth a very strong argument that the Jews did use myths intentionally. She in her autobiography stated that she was very surprised that after some people listened to her radio program arguing that the Jews used myths intentionally, that these people thanked her for saying so, and that they felt alright in going to church again (a response she never expected).

And wait, one more thing. The Christians according to Armstrong were accepted as just another sect of Judaism up until about 80 AD, when the Jews and Christians had a falling out. The Christians were also very broad in the spectrum of their beliefs, right up until the time of the Nicene council. Although, I would like to know more details about this theory than what she has in her book.

Sensuikan San
24-11-05, 07:28
Hi folks!

Well ... since most of you are now in bed (... I confess - in my enthusiasm, I forgot about that one!:blush: ... but a feeble excuse! Surely a really good Jref member would get up every couple of hours or so to check what's going down ....? .... :-) ) - I can take my time over a really long post!

(It's all right for you lot in Europe! But by the time I get to sit down and do this, I have about thirty bloody posts :bawling: to sift through and digest!)

Now ... where was I ... ? Aaaah! Yes!


In my eyes, marriage is not really necessary. My wife wanted it (because Japanese women are still quite traditional in this regard), but otherwise we would not have got married. I didn't have any religious ceremony and don't wear a ring; people can get divorced in 5min in Japan, and there is also no fiscal advantage in Japan; so, what is really marriage but a piece of paper and a party ? What would be the difference with a couple living together and having a party to celebrate their long-lasting relationship, apart from the paperwork ? Marriage has no power to stop people cheating. This is a problem that only the couple can deal with, married or not (hence the absurdity of the wedding ring).

With regard to the Religious Ceremony - I agree with you absolutely. What a waste of energy and money that all is! With regard to the Legal Contract - I would like to agree ... but can't.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the contract of marriage is indeed a contract. Hence the paper. It bestows upon each partner certain obligations, certain responsibilities, and certain rights. (Hence, perhaps... the party?) Fortunately, in many (and most western) countries the state of "common-law" marriage is now granted most if not all of those rights. But when it comes to a civil action between partners, and a jury is involved ... you can't always guarantee that "12 good atheists and true" ... are there to form an opinion! Sadly - that paper can carry a little clout!

Marriage is a form of insurance, 'tis all. A lifebelt. Padding. But really necessary?... perhaps not.

And then ... kids come into the picture ... and here ... I really agree with Maciamo (and several others)!

Like Mycernius - I was Christened - presumably for the same reasons. (Oh my Gawd! ... I'm a Christi.......?)

Personally ... I find the process repulsive. And I don't give a damn what religion is involved - indoctrinating and introducing a child into any belief is intolerable for me!

We never had our son Christened. I wanted him to look at religion, examine it, learn of its roots, look at his own beliefs and "need" ... and make up his own mind as he matured. (He has! ... he is a weak atheist ... but leaning towards Odinism! Which alarms me! ... but ... it's his life!)

With regard to celebration of the religious festivals/holidays ... heck! Any excuse for a party! That's how most of 'em started, isn't it?

As has been pointed out ... the Christians "Hijacked" Christmas! I don't think Jesus was even born in December! (BTW - I do believe in the existance of Jesus "the man". I'm not sure, but I believe that the Romans did have to deal with a pain in the butt political figure in Palestine then ... how the heck he got his Spanish name ..... I dunno!) So, yes, we do celebrate a midwinter "fest" - but you won't find an angel at the top of our tree. (We did,once, many years ago, horrify visitors by displaying a star ... a red one! But that's another story ...!)

I could go on ... but, in short I think it's starting to become pretty obvious that ... I don't take religion ... or atheism for that matter, too seriously.

I am undoubtedly atheist, but I don't particularly wish to convert anyone else to my (non) beliefs. I don't try to impress my view, I simply let folk know how I feel - as necessary or until provoked or pressed. I want to be left alone with my views. That's all. I do wish that so many fundamentalist Christians, devout Catholics, Muslems, Jews ( Yeah! ... One or two.), Wiccamists, Satanists, Moonies, etc. etc. etc. would have the same grace. (Curiously - I haven't met many "pushy" Buddhists!)

But I do find it just a teeny weeny bit scary when I see "one of my own" ... becoming, perhaps ...



Maciamo you are a fundamentalist atheist!

....well, see what I mean?

We don't need a "code" - just take life as it is. We'd all get along much better if we all did!

ジョン

Maciamo
24-11-05, 10:32
So are you suggesting that you and Japan are the sum total of knowledge and cultural authority (respectively) that exists? Leads to a bit of a paradox, doesn't it, especially in light of how many things about Japan annoy you ;-)

What are you saying there ? I meant that people can live happily without having the godparents system. I didn't speak of cultural auhority. Just the need for old fashioned traditions.


Anyway, godparents look after children when the parents are unable to, if they die for example. That is the practical purpose of that custom/tradition/ritual.

What about other people ? (friends, family members...) Why should there be only 2 priviledged people aside from the parents to care after a child ? (especially if they live far away or don't really care about their godchild) More importantly, why should parents decide for their children what religion's rites they are to follow before the children are old enough to decide by themselves . I wasn't asked if I wanted to be baptised. I objected to doing my "communion" at 6 years old, but was forced too. I successfully resisted the "confirmation" at 12. I still bear a grudge against my mother (and my father for not opposing her) for forcing me to go to the catechism, go to church, then celebrate Xmas or Easter against my will. That's again one of the fundamental human rights : freedom of thought, opinion and religion. But of course children are just children and don't have such rights. Big mistake ! Children are the most impressionable and most likely to be shocked for life if you force them to do something they don't want repeatedly.

[qoute]That's a bit one sided don't you think? There are many followers of Jesus who try to be open-minded, understanding, constructive. In any case, I find it suprising that you would use such an argument considering your level of politial awareness. I'm sure it's not news to you that religion has been used as a toolby politicians and leaders to justify or motivate war. If the concept of religion was not available there would no doubt be other concepts that could be drawn on to justify war. I hope you don't think the current problems related to Iraq or "fundamentalis terrorism" are based in religion. I might be tempted to buy that argument from anyone els but you Maciamo. [/quote]

Well, maybe your level of understanding has not reached mine. :p You could as well say that many fascists or communists tried to be open-minded, understanding, constructive. Some were even idealists. But communists share in common with Christian and Muslim that they want to "convert" everyone (in the world if possible) to their system and want everyone to obey their rules. Non-fundamentalist Christians are among the most hypocritical people on earth. They claim that they can be tolerant of other religions, but that is against the most basic values of Christianity. The pillar of Judeo-Christian religions is the Ten Commandments, which start with :


1. "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt..."
2. "You shall have no other gods besides Me...Do not make a sculpted image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above..."
3. "You shalt not swear falsely by the name of the Lord..."

This is reinforced many times in the Bible, and by Jesus himself, saying that there is only one God, and anybody who says otherwise is wrong. So, a true Christian who believes in what is written in the Bible cannot be tolerant of other gods or atheism. Judaism and Islam are ok for them, as it is supposedly the same god of Abraham and Moses.

Furthermore, true Christians cannot deny anything in the Bible. Nowadays, too many Christians have taken out or "forgotten" about the passages of the Bible that have been proven wrong. Or worse, they claim that the Bible should not be understood literally, because those who wrote it were so intelligent that they spoke in riddles so that we still don't know what they means 2000 or 3000 years later ! Very clear example of "bad faith" (without pun intended ;-) ). That's too easy and very hypocritical. You cannot call yourself a Christian if you don't believe half of what's in the Bible. Therefore Christians must believe that :

- the world was created by god in 7 days and the earth is the centre of the universe, around which everything revolves
- Adam & Eve were the 2 first humans, created by god (and therefore evolution is scientifically false)
- Jewish people are the chosen people of god (= God is partial with humans)
- Christians truly drink and eat the blood and flesh of Jesus in church
- God created men, knows all their thought and has the power to solve conflicts on earth, but doesn't.
- Jesus was god, and therefore omniscient. He is thus responsible for the crimes committed in his name, or for not choosing more reliable people to spread his true message , or for not delivering the message in written by himself, and in all the languages in the world to avoid favouring speakers of one language that would have a more accurate version.

There are many more things, including the ability to reconcile the angry, tyranical god of the OT with the loving and charitable one of the NT.

If you don't believe in one or several of these things, you are not a true Christian. Let's say such people customize their own belief system based on elements of Christianity (and maybe from other religions, philosophies or their own thoughts). I call such people followers of "free religions" (i.e. customizable to their taste). That's why I don't know many true Christians, but they were certainly numerous in past centuries. From the crusaders to the inquisitors, it was mostly true Christians who killed in the name of god. People with a bit of intelligence would doubt numerous elements of the Bible. I feel that all those "self-styled Christians" mostly don't care about the Old Testament.

Index
24-11-05, 11:05
What about other people ? (friends, family members...) Why should there be only 2 priviledged people aside from the parents to care after a child ? (especially if they live far away or don't really care about their godchild) More importantly, why should parents decide for their children what religion's rites they are to follow before the children are old enough to decide by themselves .
Other people are of course available, but godparents agree to take the role on behalf of the parents-that is what the role entails. It is like a contract, and you would only agree to become a godparent if you were willing to take responsibility for the child in case of anything happening. It is not a form of imposition of religion on to the child. Moreover, parents determining a child's religion has nothing to do with my point, which is that religious traditions can have a number of pragmatic objectives embedded in them. Perhaps linking the responsbility of being a godparent to religion gave the promise more weight and was more binding, particularly if there were no appropriate legal instruments available that could be applied.

You could as well say that many fascists or communists tried to be open-minded, understanding, constructive
If you can find a fascist or communist who was constructive and a "good" person, then why not? I know plenty of Christians who are intelligent, considerate, non-imposing. My point is that it is YOU who determines for what reasons you would be celebrating Christmas-whether to glorify God, spend time with your family, whatever.

They claim that they can be tolerant of other religions, but that is against the most basic values of Christianity
That is just your interpretation.

2. "You shall have no other gods besides Me...Do not make a sculpted image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above..."
It says that YOU shall have no other Gods, not that you cannot be tolerant of others who may have a different religion.

Or worse, they claim that the Bible should not be understood literally, because those who wrote it were so intelligent that they spoke in riddles so that we still don't know what they means 2000 or 3000 years later
It is exactly fundamentalists who are not able to see the metaphors written in to the bible or other religious texts such as the Koran. What's more, it has nothing to do with writing in riddles-it is the very nature of language. Don't you use methaphors, similes or idioms in your speech? Surely you do not think that words have absolute meanings that are understood in the same way by all?

If you don't believe in one or several of these things, you are not a true Christian
Can you verify this statement or is it your opinion? I think you need to provide a reputable reference (ie. not Wikipedia) if you are planning on making such controversial statements. You are describing a fundamentalist with your definitions.

That's why I don't know many true Christians, but they were certainly numerous in past centuries. From the crusaders to the inquisitors, it was mostly true Christians who killed in the name of god. People with a bit of intelligence would doubt numerous elements of the Bible. I feel that all those "self-styled Christians" mostly don't care about the Old Testament.
By whose definition are you calling them "true" Christians? Are you a theologist to have the authority to say such things? Don't you think you are being a little presumptious claiming to be able to determine who is a true Christian and who is not? I dare say you are stepping outside the norm in declaring Inquisitors or Crusaders true Christians. I'd suggest they were either fanatical fundamentalists or political manipulators, depending on their position.

As an aside (and serious question) would you say Wahabism is true Islam ?

I'm glad you are an atheist Maciamo, because if you were a Christian (or any religion for that matter) we'd all be in for some serious repentance and penance...the kind that is done on a rack, or whilst tied between four horses.

Kinsao
24-11-05, 11:28
Just for the record, I'm not an atheist.
Err... I'm afraid that my brain isn't engaged enough to respond to this thread as yet (severe sleep deficit)........... *tiptoes out*... :gomen:

Mikawa Ossan
24-11-05, 11:30
We don't need a "code" - just take life as it is. We'd all get along much better if we all did!
I don't have anything more to contribute here because this quote sums up my opinion on the matter. Thank you, Sensuikan San!

Maciamo, I'm starting to doubt some of my opinions about you. Reading your posts on this thread alone have made me wonder how open-minded you really are. :bluush:

kumo
24-11-05, 13:27
If you believe that the Big Bang was indeed the beginning of the universe (what Christians call the "Creation"). It has been suggested that there had been many Big Bangs at different places in the universe, as some galaxies were shown to evolve in directions opposite to our Big Bang, and others were older than our Big Bang. I personally believe that neither time nor the universe were created. I see the universe as eternal in the past and future, because it doesn't make sense otherwise (nothing can appear out of nothing; and everything cannot disappear into nothing).

This is certainly true for the macroscopic level, but not so for the atomic one. Quantum physics shows us that things can appear out of nothing through totally random processes. If the primeval universe was compressed to a very small size (the size of an atom), these processes would have been important on a cosmic scale, so it's not that absurd to consider that the universe just popped into existence.

Besides, considering time to not have a beginning creates a serious problem. Given an infinite amount of time, any physical process that is likely to occur with a non-zero probability, must necessarily occur, with probability one. That means that by now, all possible physical processes should have already happened, and our universe should have reached some sort of final state where nothing new ever happens, which is surely not the case.

Maciamo
24-11-05, 14:56
Reading your posts on this thread alone have made me wonder how open-minded you really are. :bluush:

Let me put it this way. If someone had to be called "open-minded" for admitting facts that were proven to be false, would it be a good thing or a bad thing ? For instance, what would you think of someone who regards the statement "the earth is round" and "the earth is flat" as both acceptable for the sake of "open-mindedness", and maybe go as far as to say that they are not in a position to judge because they haven't been to space and seen the earth from there, so they can't be 100% sure. Personally, I am not tolerant toward this kind of people. Therefore I cannot be tolerant toward people who believe what is written in the Bible.

But I am far from being a fundamentalist atheist, as Index said. If I were, I would want to exterminate all the people who were not atheist, or torture them until they change they abandon their religious faith. Regardless of the poor morals of such way of thinking, this is a rational absurdity as one can only become a strong atheist by accumulating knowledge about religions and understanding some principles of philosophy and/or neuro-psychology. You cannot force someone to become a strong atheist.

You cannot become a strong atheist just by believing or not believing. It's not a matter of faith or opinion, it's a matter of understanding how the human mind works, how religion are all obviously man-made from their patterns and deficiencies matching the knowledge of humans at the time of their creation, and understanding the way Nature (the Universe) works. The last one is of course only in its infancy, but our current knowledge is more than enough to disprove divine words of the Bible or Koran (e.g. we know that miracles are impossible, that the world was not made in 7 days, and that humans and other species evolved and still evolve with time...).

Because we cannot prove or disprove for sure that the universe is eternal and infinite (although it is the only logically valid possibility for me), and therefore cannot prove for sure the existence of a creator, it is acceptable to believe in some kind of supreme (impersonal) power outside the universe (generally called "god"), like the Deists. I am also tolerant of the idea that the whole universe is god (Pantheism), because it is mostly a matter of personal feelings and definition.

Believing in god is ok, as long as it is impersonal and does not intervene in human affairs. I can't accept that such a god give particular care to the biochemical reactions that life is. Even less to humans who have only existed for 3 million years if we count our primitive ancestors as humans, and about 100,000 years in their current form. What's more, in the immensity of the universe, there is bound to be countless other life-supporting planets (out of reach for us), and maybe life beings much more advance that us. After humans disappear, the universe will go on, and other intelligent species will evolve, as they constantly do in various parts of the universe.

I can't believe in heaven/hell because I am quite certain from my learning in neurosciences, psychology and biochemistry that life is nothing more than a biochemical process, and life beings don't have an eternal, immaterial soul. There is no need for it as memory, emotions, personality and conscience can all be explained in neurosciences (if you don't think so, study more, as I have). They can even be altered by electric impulses, injections of chemicals (hormones, neurotransmitters...) or brain operations (lobotomy, neuron implant, etc.).

That is why it is perfectly alright to be a Deist, and not believe in the soul or heaven.

What I cannot accept is not the believe in god, but the believe in religions, i.e. what's in the big bad book (Koran, Bible...), and their organisations, as their aims is to get money, political and moral power from people's ignorance. On some people, religion has perverse effects, such as torture or massacre of "infidels" (a concept unknown to atheists, as their is no faith involved), or even (suicidal) terrorism.

All in all, I think that everything that is good in religions, from the moral teachings to helping others (upportive communities, charities, volunteer work...) can be achieved equally well without religion. Any Atheist or Deist could have the same moral values and the same benvolent behaviour as the most religious person, as it is not imcompatible with not being religious.

In conclusion, if people want to do good, they can do it, regardless of their religious faith (or absence of thereof). It is people themselves who become what they want to become. Religions are just tools of manipulation. Take what you want in the moral teaching of any religion, but beware of the metaphysical ideas of religion. It can be comforting to believe in heaven, but believing won't make it truer.

Maciamo
24-11-05, 15:01
Besides, considering time to not have a beginning creates a serious problem. Given an infinite amount of time, any physical process that is likely to occur with a non-zero probability, must necessarily occur, with probability one. That means that by now, all possible physical processes should have already happened, and our universe should have reached some sort of final state where nothing new ever happens, which is surely not the case.

I do believe that an eternal universe means that things happen again and again for an infinite number of times. This means that nothing new can happen, and every action/event and the slightest variant have happened and will happen an infinity of times in an infinity of places. That's a pretty comforting idea, also it sounds like our lives are futile (and they are, in the absolute, like everything else - well at least from our limited mind's point of view).

kumo
24-11-05, 16:06
I do believe that an eternal universe means that things happen again and again for an infinite number of times. This means that nothing new can happen, and every action/event and the slightest variant have happened and will happen an infinity of times in an infinity of places. That's a pretty comforting idea, also it sounds like our lives are futile (and they are, in the absolute, like everything else - well at least from our limited mind's point of view).

Do you mean that everything that will happen from now on has already happened sometime in the past in the exact same way? I guess that if this were to be true, we would have at least some kind of evidence of these events, which again I don't think is the case. I can think of many possible outcomes for any occurrence that can be proven to not have happened (< I think I just murdered the English language :? )

Maciamo
24-11-05, 16:19
Do you mean that everything that will happen from now on has already happened sometime in the past in the exact same way? I guess that if this were to be true, we would have at least some kind of evidence of these events, which again I don't think is the case. I can think of many possible outcomes for any occurrence that can be proven to not have happened (< I think I just murdered the English language :? )

Yes, I mean that everything has already happened. Not once, twice, or a million times but an infinity of times.

We are much much too small to see any evidence. What's more the last time the same situation as now could have happened, might be billions of light years from here, and 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000 years ago. That's still as tiny a number as a fraction of nano second, as we compared it to eternity. In matters of "infinite" 1 nanometre is hardly smaller than 1000000000000000000000000000000000 light years. Just a point on an infinite line.

Revenant
24-11-05, 16:20
Don't you think that refusing to consider the idea that the writers of the bible actually intended a literal interpretation is closed minded too? Maybe they wrote such obvious myths because they simply didn't know any better.I agree. We have seen that human societies have improved a lot over the centuries (with a few backwards step in medieval Europe). So how could people living 2000, 3000 or 4000 years ago have been more enlightened than us now ? If the writers of the OT were so "intelligent" as to write in riddles on which meaning billions of Christians over centuries have not yet agreed, how comes they lived in what we would now call "slums", and were so technologically and scientifically backwards ? (even for their time, compared to the Greeks and Romans, whose homeland wasn't much bigger).Karen Armstrong in this article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,2763,1015350,00.html) explains how some of the Jewish writers intentionally implemented myths into their writing.

Maciamo
24-11-05, 16:33
Karen Armstrong in this article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,2763,1015350,00.html) explains how some of the Jewish writers intentionally implemented myths into their writing.

Did that make them cleverer or more knowledgeable ? Don't forget that the diet of the Ancient world did not allow for as great intelligence as nowadays. Both IQ and life expectancy have been shown to increase thanks to better nutrition. Lexico had posted an interesting article about the Flynn Effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect) in this regard. For comparison, the life expectancy 2000 years ago was about 28 years old (let alone 4000 years ago). Therefore, ancient people could not have competed with modern people in developed countries. Add to this the tremendous progress in sciences and technologies, and you will have an idea of why I don't believe the so-called "experts" (theologists ?) that claim that the myths or metaphors were inserted intentionally. Well it could have been intentional, but with the aim of confusing, not to reveal a greater message.

Did you know that the Japanese had trouble understanding many English metaphors (and hardly ever use metaphors themselves) ? How common were metaphors in ancient Semitic languages ?

Revenant
24-11-05, 17:00
I don't think it makes them cleverer or more knowledgable than us, but that still doesn't mean that they couldn't have implemented myths intentionally. Myths were ideal for bringing hope, as the philospopher Plato, who came just a couple centuries after the Yahwist writer noted.

The Japanese don't use English metaphors much, or Japanese metaphors much?

Tsuyoiko
24-11-05, 21:59
If you cannot stand the fact that there is a lot unknown that we will never know through science, then do not even bother talking about. It shows that you are a closed-minded, loud-mouthed, hypocritical bastard in the end.I hate disagreeing with you Doc, but I have to on this one :sorry: My understanding of science (and I have come under fire for it before) is that science is the method through which we understand the Universe. So although science hasn't revealed everything yet, there is nothing that will not be understood eventually through science - given an infinite timescale. That's just my opinion though.

Tsuyoiko
24-11-05, 22:03
But Jesus did call himself the son of god (if he ever existed, at least). He also told people that his Father was the only god, that his laws were the only laws, and to spread his word throughout the world.As Revenant has said, there is some debate about that. But even if we do accept that Jesus said those things, it doesn't mean we have to demonise him. We can still find some good in what he said, like the stuff Mike has pointed out. I disagree with some of what you say, but I still respect you, and prefer to concentrate on the the things I agree with!:p Even if someone starts a horrible religion in your name.:p

Doc
24-11-05, 23:02
I hate disagreeing with you Doc, but I have to on this one :sorry: My understanding of science (and I have come under fire for it before) is that science is the method through which we understand the Universe. So although science hasn't revealed everything yet, there is nothing that will not be understood eventually through science - given an infinite timescale. That's just my opinion though.

What should you be sorry for? Not agreeing with me on a subject? Do not be so silly! As far as I am concerned as long as you do not start running around telling me that science has all the answers, and that if I do not believe in that, that I will be doomed I really do not mind what you have to say. We are all titled to our beliefs and opinions. You are a level-headed and fair individual who does not let your beliefs cloud your judgment, and I for one am greatful for it. As for my stance on science I do believe that most answers will come from it. That is the key word right there. I honestly believe that there are some things science is not meant to answer, or cannot answer no matter how advanced and universal it may become. Yet that is my personal belief and your personal belief is different from that. However, we do not let our beliefs cloud our judement and respect for one another. Therefore, do not worry about not agreeing with me on the matter. You are a fair and balanced person and that is what is important to me.:cool:

Doc :wave:

belle74311
16-12-05, 20:33
So where do you think you guys came from?

What do you believe will happen after death?

Do Athiest believe that people have souls?

Tsuyoiko
16-12-05, 21:20
So where do you think you guys came from?

What do you believe will happen after death?

Do Athiest believe that people have souls?Hi Belle! For answers to those questions check out this thread (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20375) :cool:

Mars Man
19-12-05, 02:35
HI guys !!!! Just wanted to let you know I'm following along, but haven't really had much to put down in words, perhaps since I fall into the agnostic zone, for the most part. I have seem some good posts here, and it seems to be a good volley of points. I'm just hanging around, that's all.

Perhaps I will just respond to the question of where I came from : I'm quite certain I came from my parents genes, along with some degree of history (passage of time through a certain environment and experience).

Keep up the good debate, and I may stop by later....See you !!!!:wave:

belle74311
20-12-05, 07:05
I checked out the thread but is everyone there Athiest...i mean other than me?

Revenant
20-12-05, 10:41
There are actually three others in that thread that believe in a God. Pararousia, Doc, and one other to whose name I cannot remember.

Kinsao
20-12-05, 11:41
*raises hand* I'm not an atheist. :yeahh:

Tsuyoiko
20-12-05, 12:50
I checked out the thread but is everyone there Athiest...i mean other than me?Not everyone, but a lot of atheists give their opinion there - check out what Maciamo, Kirei (I think?), Sensuikan-San, Mycernius, Lastmagi (I think?) and I have said.

Mycernius
20-12-05, 18:41
Sabro is a Christian and Mars man is agnostic. There are a few Christians on the site, but Muslims seem to be quiet on the matter of religion. Ther have been some harsh criticisms about islam by some people, but they have either been banned *cough Jarvis cough* or have been warned. At the moment there seems to be a healthy respect for peoples beliefs and I think that the threads have benefitted from this
This thread (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3057) will give you an idea on who follow what religion on the forum and this thread (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12936) will give you an idea on how people percieve God. Hope this helps.:wave: