bobquasit: (Default)
A Christian on Askville asked why atheists always answer their questions about Christianity.


It's quite natural for atheists to respond to questions about Christianity, and not just yours. If you think Christianity doesn't have an impact on the lives of atheists in the United States, you obviously haven't had the experience of being an atheist in the USA. We're widely despised and distrusted by Christians; polls indicate that we are the most hated group in America, even more loathed than Muslims and homosexuals. So it should be understandable why many of us want to represent our position online.
Read more... )
[Another user] also makes a good point: to be an atheist in the USA is not a casual thing. Most US atheists have probably spent a lot more time thinking about religion than most US Christians!
bobquasit: (Default)
A Christian on Askville asked why atheists always answer their questions about Christianity.


It's quite natural for atheists to respond to questions about Christianity, and not just yours. If you think Christianity doesn't have an impact on the lives of atheists in the United States, you obviously haven't had the experience of being an atheist in the USA. We're widely despised and distrusted by Christians; polls indicate that we are the most hated group in America, even more loathed than Muslims and homosexuals. So it should be understandable why many of us want to represent our position online.
Read more... )
[Another user] also makes a good point: to be an atheist in the USA is not a casual thing. Most US atheists have probably spent a lot more time thinking about religion than most US Christians!

Lapse

May. 28th, 2009 09:06 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
A few Christians on Askville suggested that atheists should be consider "lapsed" Christians. I responded that I preferred to be called an ex-Christian, or better still, an atheist - that "lapsed" implied "failure".

One of the Christians replied that I was making up that connotation, and probably suffered from a guilty conscience; perhaps I would eventually come back to the faith. I had to reply in detail:
Read more... )

Lapse

May. 28th, 2009 09:06 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
A few Christians on Askville suggested that atheists should be consider "lapsed" Christians. I responded that I preferred to be called an ex-Christian, or better still, an atheist - that "lapsed" implied "failure".

One of the Christians replied that I was making up that connotation, and probably suffered from a guilty conscience; perhaps I would eventually come back to the faith. I had to reply in detail:
Read more... )
bobquasit: (Default)
The Christian/Atheist thread that I started a while ago over on Askville has gotten HUGE - it's up to 343 posts with no sign of slowing down - and has taken some VERY odd twists and turns (among other things, I was recently accused of being a racist and genocide supporter).

I'm thinking about copying ALL of my posts from Askville over to my journal, because I really do think that the whole site could easily disappear at any time. In the meantime, here's my latest comment:


Apparently I shouldn't sleep. Because as soon as I do, things go crazy here!
Read more... )
Okay, I've gone on long enough. I'll be back later.
bobquasit: (Default)
The Christian/Atheist thread that I started a while ago over on Askville has gotten HUGE - it's up to 343 posts with no sign of slowing down - and has taken some VERY odd twists and turns (among other things, I was recently accused of being a racist and genocide supporter).

I'm thinking about copying ALL of my posts from Askville over to my journal, because I really do think that the whole site could easily disappear at any time. In the meantime, here's my latest comment:


Apparently I shouldn't sleep. Because as soon as I do, things go crazy here!
Read more... )
Okay, I've gone on long enough. I'll be back later.
bobquasit: (Default)
I asked a question over on Askville a while ago. I wanted to get atheists and Christians to talk to each other in different ways. There are fairly large and active communities of both groups there, and the site has morphed into a place for discussion more than anything else. I thought it would be interesting to get the two groups to interact without arguing; it might lead to some new understandings on both sides.

It turned out to be a lot harder than I expected.
Read more... )
Third time's the charm, or so I hoped.

"Christians, atheists: What do you fear/think/feel/believe about people on the other side of the fence?".

It has taken some work, but I think the result has been a remarkably civil and thoughtful discussion!

Eventually, I was asked a tough question in the DB: What's the source of atheist morality? I dragged my feet for quite a while, but eventually responded:

I intended to answer this the first time you asked.

But I ended up putting it off over and over. Why? Well, partly because I am busy (which reminds me: I'll be away and offline from this Friday through Sunday). But mostly, it was because I felt that I had to do a really good job. I didn't want to give anyone - okay, I'll be honest, any Christian in particular - a reason or excuse to despise my personal moral code. Because that's something that I've seen thrown at atheists online a lot, including me: that our morality is somehow defective.

Read more... )
bobquasit: (Default)
I asked a question over on Askville a while ago. I wanted to get atheists and Christians to talk to each other in different ways. There are fairly large and active communities of both groups there, and the site has morphed into a place for discussion more than anything else. I thought it would be interesting to get the two groups to interact without arguing; it might lead to some new understandings on both sides.

It turned out to be a lot harder than I expected.
Read more... )
Third time's the charm, or so I hoped.

"Christians, atheists: What do you fear/think/feel/believe about people on the other side of the fence?".

It has taken some work, but I think the result has been a remarkably civil and thoughtful discussion!

Eventually, I was asked a tough question in the DB: What's the source of atheist morality? I dragged my feet for quite a while, but eventually responded:

I intended to answer this the first time you asked.

But I ended up putting it off over and over. Why? Well, partly because I am busy (which reminds me: I'll be away and offline from this Friday through Sunday). But mostly, it was because I felt that I had to do a really good job. I didn't want to give anyone - okay, I'll be honest, any Christian in particular - a reason or excuse to despise my personal moral code. Because that's something that I've seen thrown at atheists online a lot, including me: that our morality is somehow defective.

Read more... )
bobquasit: (Default)
Haven't felt like writing here lately.

Everyone's basically fine.

Teri's mother recommended a guy/company to strip, repair, and repaint our fence and front porch for $350+paint. We're doing it.

Sebastian has been making us play "baseball" with him in the back yard lately. He hit the ball and it smashed me in the face. Fortunately it was a beachball. No damage.

I've been thinking about political vs. religious discussion:
http://askville.amazon.com/Christians-atheists-fear-feel-people-side-fence/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=49722175

Really tired. Need to get onto a better sleeping schedule - need to REALLY BADLY.
bobquasit: (Default)
Haven't felt like writing here lately.

Everyone's basically fine.

Teri's mother recommended a guy/company to strip, repair, and repaint our fence and front porch for $350+paint. We're doing it.

Sebastian has been making us play "baseball" with him in the back yard lately. He hit the ball and it smashed me in the face. Fortunately it was a beachball. No damage.

I've been thinking about political vs. religious discussion:
http://askville.amazon.com/Christians-atheists-fear-feel-people-side-fence/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=49722175

Really tired. Need to get onto a better sleeping schedule - need to REALLY BADLY.
bobquasit: (Default)
I just wrote a lengthy comment about religion and human nature over on Askville. Earlier, I'd pointed out that wearing a blatantly atheistic t-shirt was likely to get get the wearer beaten up and bullied in schools in some parts of the USA.


[An atheist I know wrote:] "Heh.. because that's typical christian behavior, when they are in power or outnumber others."

Actually, that's typical human behavior under those circumstances. We see some of the worst behavior from Christians here in the USA because they're in the majority. So we tend to assume that it's Christianity itself that is to blame for that arrogance.

But other groups behave in much the same way, if not worse, in those areas where they are in the majority. The basis can be ethnic, religious, racial, or other; as long as human beings can categorize some other group as "other", many of them will take that as a license for all sorts of bad behavior. It's a rare group that doesn't fall into that trap.
Read more... )
Sorry, I've kind of gone off on a tangent. My original point was that while many right-wing American Christians are arrogant and dictatorial, it's probably not fair to ascribe that to their religion itself. Rather, it's a reflection of basic human nature...as well as poor education and upbringing, at a guess.
bobquasit: (Default)
I just wrote a lengthy comment about religion and human nature over on Askville. Earlier, I'd pointed out that wearing a blatantly atheistic t-shirt was likely to get get the wearer beaten up and bullied in schools in some parts of the USA.


[An atheist I know wrote:] "Heh.. because that's typical christian behavior, when they are in power or outnumber others."

Actually, that's typical human behavior under those circumstances. We see some of the worst behavior from Christians here in the USA because they're in the majority. So we tend to assume that it's Christianity itself that is to blame for that arrogance.

But other groups behave in much the same way, if not worse, in those areas where they are in the majority. The basis can be ethnic, religious, racial, or other; as long as human beings can categorize some other group as "other", many of them will take that as a license for all sorts of bad behavior. It's a rare group that doesn't fall into that trap.
Read more... )
Sorry, I've kind of gone off on a tangent. My original point was that while many right-wing American Christians are arrogant and dictatorial, it's probably not fair to ascribe that to their religion itself. Rather, it's a reflection of basic human nature...as well as poor education and upbringing, at a guess.
bobquasit: (Default)
Here's a link to a fascinating episode of NOVA about the intelligent design trial in Dover, PA.
bobquasit: (Default)
Here's a link to a fascinating episode of NOVA about the intelligent design trial in Dover, PA.
bobquasit: (Default)
There's an interesting discussion going on over on Askville about religion. The asker's son is being indoctrinated by her fundamentalist mother-in-law, in violation of her stated wishes (and her husband's wishes, too).

"My inlaws are fundamentalist Christians and my husband and I are not."

One of the believers there brought up the old argument that atheists can't "know" that there is no God. My response:


Atheists (most atheists - some may differ) say "There is no god" in the same way that a Christian says "There is no Zeus" or "There is no flying spaghetti monster". If disbelief in any imaginable entity required concrete proof of the non-existence of that entity, Christians would have to spend all of their lives trying to disprove the existence of the countless gods and other supernatural beings which have been dreamed up by humans over millennia. Not to mention the innumerable deities that could be imagined by people living today!

To suggest that disbelief in god(s) requires special proof of non-existence is to insist that belief in that god(s) is the default position - effectively, it is an attempt to force the non-believer to justify their non-belief based on the assumption that God is real. In other words, it's a classic "heads I win, tails you lose" argument. But it's not valid, as Christians show daily through their failure to justify their non-belief in any other god but their own.
bobquasit: (Default)
There's an interesting discussion going on over on Askville about religion. The asker's son is being indoctrinated by her fundamentalist mother-in-law, in violation of her stated wishes (and her husband's wishes, too).

"My inlaws are fundamentalist Christians and my husband and I are not."

One of the believers there brought up the old argument that atheists can't "know" that there is no God. My response:


Atheists (most atheists - some may differ) say "There is no god" in the same way that a Christian says "There is no Zeus" or "There is no flying spaghetti monster". If disbelief in any imaginable entity required concrete proof of the non-existence of that entity, Christians would have to spend all of their lives trying to disprove the existence of the countless gods and other supernatural beings which have been dreamed up by humans over millennia. Not to mention the innumerable deities that could be imagined by people living today!

To suggest that disbelief in god(s) requires special proof of non-existence is to insist that belief in that god(s) is the default position - effectively, it is an attempt to force the non-believer to justify their non-belief based on the assumption that God is real. In other words, it's a classic "heads I win, tails you lose" argument. But it's not valid, as Christians show daily through their failure to justify their non-belief in any other god but their own.
bobquasit: (Default)
Someone posted a rather nice question asking about the meaning of Christmas for religious and non-religious people. I posted my answer in the discussion board, rather than risk the usual negative ratings from angry Christians. But I've received several compliments from Christians instead.


As an atheist, I celebrate Christmas from a secular mindset. The winter festival or holiday predates Christianity, of course, and many - most! - Christmas traditions actually date back to so-called "pagan" religious rituals, from a number of different religions. Of course, being an atheist I don't take those religions any more seriously than I do Christianity.
Read more... )
Come, Credit Department! Come, Personal Loan!
Come, Mortgage, Come Christmas Club, Come ---"

- From "Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus" by Fredric Pohl, available in The Best of Fredric Pohl



It's quite a nice thread; I hope it continues.


Update: I just extended it myself.


I imagine that when the time comes that my son realizes that there is no Santa Claus, I'll tell him in all honesty that he is Santa Claus - he'll be Santa for his kids, just as his mother and I were for him, and my father was for me.
bobquasit: (Default)
Someone posted a rather nice question asking about the meaning of Christmas for religious and non-religious people. I posted my answer in the discussion board, rather than risk the usual negative ratings from angry Christians. But I've received several compliments from Christians instead.


As an atheist, I celebrate Christmas from a secular mindset. The winter festival or holiday predates Christianity, of course, and many - most! - Christmas traditions actually date back to so-called "pagan" religious rituals, from a number of different religions. Of course, being an atheist I don't take those religions any more seriously than I do Christianity.
Read more... )
Come, Credit Department! Come, Personal Loan!
Come, Mortgage, Come Christmas Club, Come ---"

- From "Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus" by Fredric Pohl, available in The Best of Fredric Pohl



It's quite a nice thread; I hope it continues.


Update: I just extended it myself.


I imagine that when the time comes that my son realizes that there is no Santa Claus, I'll tell him in all honesty that he is Santa Claus - he'll be Santa for his kids, just as his mother and I were for him, and my father was for me.
bobquasit: (Default)
Someone over on Askville asked "When was Christ removed from Christmas?". I couldn't resist answering...


Christ was removed from Xmas in a two-step surgical procedure on November 17th, 1952. First, an incision was made along the dorsal seam of the holiday. A set of custom-built expanders were used to keep the incision open. Then, a pair of forceps specially crafted for the occasion by the Business Roundtable were used to extract the Christ (already in a moribund state) from the internal chamber. The process went relatively smoothly, and once complete the incision was closed, surgically stiched, and healed normally. The result was a healthy non-religious commercial holiday, able to serve as a regular stimulant for the American economy.

I'm not sure what was done with the Christ. It might have been disposed of as medical waste...or possibly it was picked up from a dumpster and swallowed by a passing evangelical movement. If so, I'm afraid it metastasized into a cancer of the right wing. In any case, none of the original Christ remains in the now tumor-ridden movement.

Merry Xmas!



I was tempted to make a reference to that Japanese monster movie where a homeless boy, a survivor of Hiroshima I think, found and ate the deathless heart and brain of Frankstein, only to grow into a Godzilla-sized Japanese Frankenstein. But how many people remember that movie? Not many, I'll bet!
bobquasit: (Default)
Someone over on Askville asked "When was Christ removed from Christmas?". I couldn't resist answering...


Christ was removed from Xmas in a two-step surgical procedure on November 17th, 1952. First, an incision was made along the dorsal seam of the holiday. A set of custom-built expanders were used to keep the incision open. Then, a pair of forceps specially crafted for the occasion by the Business Roundtable were used to extract the Christ (already in a moribund state) from the internal chamber. The process went relatively smoothly, and once complete the incision was closed, surgically stiched, and healed normally. The result was a healthy non-religious commercial holiday, able to serve as a regular stimulant for the American economy.

I'm not sure what was done with the Christ. It might have been disposed of as medical waste...or possibly it was picked up from a dumpster and swallowed by a passing evangelical movement. If so, I'm afraid it metastasized into a cancer of the right wing. In any case, none of the original Christ remains in the now tumor-ridden movement.

Merry Xmas!



I was tempted to make a reference to that Japanese monster movie where a homeless boy, a survivor of Hiroshima I think, found and ate the deathless heart and brain of Frankstein, only to grow into a Godzilla-sized Japanese Frankenstein. But how many people remember that movie? Not many, I'll bet!

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