[FoRK] reas. conv. 12/4: Beyond Faith

Jeff Bone < jbone at place.org > on > Mon Dec 4 18:04:17 PST 2006

On Dec 4, 2006, at 7:23 PM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:

> On Dec 4, 2006, at 10:37 AM, Jeff Bone wrote:
>> I'm just insisting that finally, it must stand up and take its  
>> fair share of the blame, rather than be accorded some undue  
>> deference, respect, and sensitivity.
> I completely agree. I absolutely *want* religion -- and  
> Christianity in particular -- to fully face its "fair share of the  
> blame" for the evil it has created.[3]  Are you willing to  
> similarly condemn evil committed in the 'name' of anti-religion[4]?

There'd be far, far less of that.  Atheists seem to have less in the  
way of war-starting tendencies, historically.  (Of course, there's  
massive sample-set bias.)  (And no, don't hold up Hitler --- for all  
that, we have to take him at his own words:  he was a Catholic to the  
end of his life.  Stalin, sure.)

In general it's difficult to see how *lack of belief in something*  
might compel somebody to act in any particular way, much less  
violently.  At worst it might fail to negatively compel them against  
bad behavior or violence --- but that's one of your type's pet  
theses, isn't it?  Again, sorry, I don't need fear of some boogieman  
tyrant to keep me from doing certain very nasty things.

> On Dec 4, 2006, at 3:04 PM, Jeff Bone wrote:
>> Semi-reasonable response.  We have to find whatever it is, if  
>> anything, that is still a fit adaptation that religion is a side- 
>> effect of, and come up with a way to accomplish that without the  
>> side-effect.
>> I don't think the problem is ideology per-se --- much harder to  
>> define ideology than religion, I would think.  But you're right:   
>> if it's a vacuum, it must be filled or --- if created by side- 
>> effect of something else --- replaced with an alternative without  
>> such side effects.
> Fair enough. So, what exactly do you propose to put in its place?

Nothing.  I'd say that's up to the individual, if they feel they need  
it.  Once more with feeling:  a VOID IS OKAY.  If you can't live with  
that, fill it with something less ludicrous and less poisonous.  I  
merely reserve the right to mercilessly taunt you if the nonsense you  
concoct to replace the current nonsense is equally ridiculous --- or  
equally harmful.

> Specifically, do you believe that:
> 	a) a solution for "filling the vacuum without side effects" exists

Don't know, don't care, not my problem:  I'm quite happy and  
apparently quite functional in the presence of "the vacuum."  If only  
the rest of you wingnuts were half as enlightened. ;-)

> 	b) it is worth the effort to find one

Not in my case;  YMMV.

> 	c) once found, it would be feasible to implement it without  
> violent coercion

I certainly wasn't co-erced, violently or otherwise, into my current  
state of vacuum-sucking enlightenment.

> And if so, why?
>>> Communism viewed traditional religion as its
>>> enemy, yet served much the same role. The cultural changes that
>>> might lessen the proclivity is a harder problem than just
>>> ridding ourselves of Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.
>> Oh, I dunno, I'd call that a good start.
> Then you must love North Korea [5]. :-)

What a crap argument.  Note that what I was applauding was the notion  
of "ridding ourselves of Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism" ---  
specifically NOT Communism.  And I'm in favor of perhaps less-than- 
polite but still non-coercive conversion.  All that takes is for non- 
theists to insist, to FINALLY fucking insist, that religious people  
drag the whole sorry mess of their pet insanity out into the light of  
daylight and call it like it is:  ridiculous.

> No?  Well, then would you at least be willing to admit that even if  
> it is "necessary" to get rid of organized religion, that it isn't  
> by itself *sufficient*?

Again, let's start there and see what happens.

> Surely you must concede that, as bad as Christian nations have  
> been, the ones who've officially espoused atheism have done far  
> worse[6].

Correlation is not causation, and you are deep in the rhetorical  
boonies, sir.

And for the record, the US was conceived as a non-Christian nation.   
Don't believe me?  Go read the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by Adams:

"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not,  
in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself  
no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity,  
of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or  
act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the  
parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever  
produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two  

> Which brings us to Jeff's final question: Yes, I *do* have an  
> empirical test[7] that would convince me that my beliefs are  
> fatally flawed:
> "Create a self-supporting community of like-minded individuals that  
> demonstrates superior ethical behavior towards both each other and  
> hostile outsiders for more than a single generation."

I have absolutely no "faith" that you would, indeed, be convinced by  
such a test;  as everyone knows, all Christians are hypocrites and  
liars. ;-)  Hell, by definition (your own, btw) you cannot even be  
honest with yourselves.


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