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December 31, 2006 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Have a Godless New Year! We Wish you a Very Happy 2007!
posted by nj_subgenius (27 comments total)

 
Have a festivus and a new year.
posted by Balisong at 9:17 PM on December 31, 2006


Namaste.
posted by hank_14 at 9:19 PM on December 31, 2006


I think this post should not be deleted. It is the last post of 2006 (EST at least) and should live on as an example of posting drunk on new years eve.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:04 PM on December 31, 2006


I prefer to keep "god" out of my godlessness. That article sounds more like antitheism than atheism. Real atheists don't even think about "god" when they're out there atheizing. And yes, I'm aware that atheism has "theos" as its root. Which is why I don't identify as atheist unless pinned down. Because really, I don't think about it that much.

"When you base your whole identity
In reaction against somebody
It's the same as..."

posted by Eideteker at 11:09 PM on December 31, 2006


Yeah, Eideteker, if asked I usually say I'm irreligious, but really, I just lack that spiritual need people are supposed to have.
posted by Kattullus at 11:19 PM on December 31, 2006


The term I usually use is "mechanist". Technically, the proper term is "materialist", but that confuses people who think that it means "the one who dies with the most toys, wins". "Mechanist" isn't a word in common usage, so there's no such ambiguity.

I think it's a shame that so many atheists feel they have to be anti-theist.

Back during the OS wars (I'm tempted to say "Clone wars") there were people who cleaved to Linux or OS/2 because they thought they were good, but others who cleaved to them because they weren't Windows. Those latter tended to be loud, obnoxious, and on a quest.

Likewise, there are some who become atheistic because it best fits their beliefs. And there are others who declare themselves to be atheist mostly because they need to be something other than Christian. Those are the obnoxious atheists who likewise are on a quest.

Damned shame; because they're so loud they tend to become iconic, and tarnish the reputations of the rest of us who are not as intolerant or as driven.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:33 PM on December 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


The term I usually use is "mechanist".

That would make people who disagreed Shapers I suppose.

I agree though. Some people seem to need to expend their emptiness-given intellectual powers in trashing the central fact of others lives. I'm atheistic myself and I don't understand that urge, unless the religious folks are being idiots. Of course atheists can do that too.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:44 PM on December 31, 2006


*hic*
posted by nj_subgenius at 12:01 AM on January 1, 2007


Salvia peaking during the new years countdown in Nathan Phillips Square was the closest I have ever come to seeing God.
posted by tehloki at 2:42 AM on January 1, 2007


Steven C. Den Beste: we'd stop being obnoxiously intolerant of (say) Christians if they'd stop insisting that they possess the One Truth and trying to tell others who don't believe their fairy tales how to live. Especially if they'd take their paws off the machinery of state. Til then, I am a militant, in your face atheist, annoying or not.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:58 AM on January 1, 2007


Keeping their paws off the machinery of state, yes, but what's the big deal about them insisting that they possess the One Truth, or trying to tell others how to live? Let 'em insist all they want, who cares.
posted by equalpants at 6:57 AM on January 1, 2007


well, it's all about *how* they tell others to live. and what about brainwashing? don't innocent children deserve protection from having their heads filled with a lot of nonsense that causes them a lifetime of guilt and shame?
posted by sineater at 7:39 AM on January 1, 2007


You know, it's not brainwashing if it's instruction of a set of values that is generally consistent with our general society's values. And although I've just given an invitation to the militant atheists to list the far-reaching ideologies that offend society in general, I can assure you that Christians are NOT taught that they are better than atheists or that we need to convert all of them (we are, however, gently encouraged to "pass on the good word" without judgment of the recipient, and I don't find that offensive - savior or not, Jesus Christ was not an asshole and not a bad role model at all).

Christians believe in an afterlife where we'll all be judged. Atheists believe that this life on this planet is it, and that's all there is to it. I suppose that's a fair state of affairs, eh? How can you go to hell if there isn't any? And what do atheists' opinions matter anyway if they're mere mortals? Convincing or not, I'm not going to take the opinion of some guy on the street telling me I'm right or wrong about God. You sort it out for yourself. And as always, it's the argument that makes us stupid, not the topic.
posted by brianvan at 8:44 AM on January 1, 2007


*hic*

Yeah, that explains it.
posted by mediareport at 8:46 AM on January 1, 2007


That about sums up my religious views, especially on Christianity. "Jesus Christ was not an asshole." Thanks, brianvan!
posted by jenii at 8:55 AM on January 1, 2007


Why does that article sound antitheist to some people? If the article encourages atheists to do anything, it's to identify as an atheist while they go about their regular business. What's antitheist about that? I like hearing about self-described atheists who do cool things. It makes me feel like society is beginning to allow atheism.

Beginning. There's a long way to go.
posted by gurple at 10:33 AM on January 1, 2007


I'm a lapsed atheist.
Hail Satan.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:49 AM on January 1, 2007


gurple: Not so much the article as the FPP/thread above that sounds antitheist. The article is actually quite reasonable.

I find it also reasonable to expect that people of theistic faiths would also try not to interject their religions into commonplace social interactions, but that is a big marketing problem for the major world religions. No one is born knowing of God, and such ideas must be imposed on new people to keep the faith community strong. Otherwise, we'd all end up as atheists. If you personally believe in God, that's an obvious and disturbing future problem. If you run an organization that relies on donations and tithing, that's an even bigger problem.

I find it entirely amusing to see people act in the opposite direction, though. What, exactly, would an antitheist achieve by converting people from religion-affiliated to atheist? Do they believe it's better for society for everyone to eliminate religious faith altogether? Was there a cost-benefit analysis done for society that I'm not aware of? I get the feeling that the antitheist agenda consists of a lot of self-publicity, lawyer fees, and squawking about things that simply do not matter on a society level. Religion is a very personal thing, and the type of thing that you really can't convince someone to easily give up because you've told them it's stupid and implausible. Besides, all it takes is one Jesus-shaped rust stain on a water tank to renew the faith...
posted by brianvan at 1:22 PM on January 1, 2007


Do they believe it's better for society for everyone to eliminate religious faith altogether?

Yes, we do.
posted by nicwolff at 1:49 PM on January 1, 2007


And can you back that up with anything substantial that relates to modern society? Like, in the last 100 years?

Remember that most of the negative stuff related to religion falls in the realm of political conflict - so, unless you also believe in anarchy, it's probably wise not to reference intercontinental wars, abortion debates, etc.

And fringe/radical groups exist in the secular world, too, so unless you can show a statistical difference in conflict and violence between atheists and theists, you're not getting very far with the argument that religion = crazy. That, admittedly, is very hard to prove or disprove, but you're not getting an easy pass by mentioning a few statistical outliers.
posted by brianvan at 2:15 PM on January 1, 2007


Also, the Publisher's Weekly review in your link starts like this:

In this sometimes simplistic and misguided book,

Ummm, you win?
posted by brianvan at 2:19 PM on January 1, 2007


you're not getting very far with the argument that religion = crazy

Well, religion = an abandonment of reason for unreasoning faith. It's popularly said that when one person believes in something despite proof to the opposite, it's called craziness. When many do, it's called religion.
posted by Imperfect at 6:15 PM on January 1, 2007


brianvan,

Give one example of a group that has committed violence in the name of atheism. I can give you some examples of groups that have committed violence in the name of religion.
posted by dibblda at 6:38 PM on January 1, 2007


dibblda - You are correct in saying that no one has committed violence in the name of... errr, nothing. If the reason is "no reason whatsoever", the word "atheism" usually doesn't apply.

That said, many people commit violence. And some do in the name of religion. However, I don't think the belief in a theistic faith is the cause of violence among entities, even in cases where that is the given reason. So, statistically, the incidence of violence among theistic and atheist communities or between such community groups should be statistically similar, assuming no other factors. That is just my hypothesis and not fact, but you'd no sooner prove your hypothesis than I could prove mine. You'd even have a hard time showing a general divergent trend.

And the reason is that few people believe in a theistic or spiritual faith that encourages violence. Most religions uphold the general values of contemporary society (contemporary being relative, of course, but that's my argument - it's a community or personal decision to commit violence, rarely a dogmatic one). Anyone who has committed violence in the name of Christianity, for example, obviously didn't get the point of being a Christian. Murder is a mortal sin in both Christianity and Judaism, so you can't really blame the "theism" for any murders committed in the name of a Christian-Judeo God. The literature describes literally the harshest universal penalty possible (in a theistic world) for such acts. And 99.99999% of living or dead Jews/Christians have never murdered anyone. (Adultered? Well...) Yet Christians have murdered, undeniably, in the name of their God. Whether this was decided amongst sane or pure men is up for debate, but one thing that cannot be ignored is that all such murders were unjustifiable in the context of the Christian religion. (or Judaism+Islam+Buddhism)

Religion is more dangerous, in my eyes, when the rules dictate inflexibly things like, for example, young women can't abort rape foeti. But that is often the direction of the error of dogma - erring toward protectionism and conservatism, not toward chaos and violence. And I certainly hope anti-theists are not basing their entire argument on the actions of sinners, because wanton sinners are technically more Godless than they. One of faith could argue that, had God truly been with them, tragedy may have been avoided.

And in any case, I've seen many of the anti-theist authors, and I get the feeling that they're all trying to belittle me and the rest of my ilk by arguing to me that I'm senseless. Philosophically, that's impossible unless I admit it on my own. I think therefore I am, so my universe consists of whatever faith I choose, real/evidentiary or not. So they can all go suck a God-sized noodly appendage.
posted by brianvan at 7:31 PM on January 1, 2007


However, I don't think the belief in a theistic faith is the cause of violence among entities, even in cases where that is the given reason.

So.... right. You won't be convinced of any facts, regardless of who's telling you them. Well, at least you're consistent.

Anyone who has committed violence in the name of Christianity, for example, obviously didn't get the point of being a Christian.

Which is, apparently, to not do unto unbelievers what the Bible tells them to do....

And in any case, I've seen many of the anti-theist authors, and I get the feeling that they're all trying to belittle me and the rest of my ilk by arguing to me that I'm senseless.

...and then, in the same paragraph:

...my universe consists of whatever faith I choose, real/evidentiary or not. (emphasis mine)

I'm sorry, but that is just Grade A hilarity right there.
posted by eparchos at 7:51 PM on January 1, 2007


Well, brianvan, I heard that Publisher's Weekly once ate an entire bag of cocks. What's your point? You asked incredulously if "antitheist" atheists "believe it's better for society for everyone to eliminate religious faith altogether", and I linked to a very popular book as evidence that we do. And your rebuttal is that the book got a bad review?

Yes, I win.
posted by nicwolff at 8:33 PM on January 1, 2007


I'm obsessive about getting last words, sorry:

eparchos - On your first point, I believe there are different underlying causes that would cause someone to say "I need to murder in the name of God". Most contemporary believers of theistic faiths never reach that conclusion - the vast, vast, vast majority. Mental illness and psychopathy are the likely (secular) causes. It's to be taken into consideration for the argument, but I can't prove that either. As for your third point: I'm not saying that I'm demonstrably not senseless. It makes no sense to declare factually the existence of something that cannot be empirically demonstrated to exist. But as a matter of argument and debate, you philosophically cannot win. If I believe in God, then you are as real as God to me, the both of you can have an argument in front of me as to whether either of you exist or not, but guess what? You won't win the argument by calling me senseless. If someone highly religious told me that I was senseless and stupid for believing in empirical scientific fact, then I would think they were full of shit, too. (Luckily for God, science makes it very hard to disprove things. Individual human-written passages in the Bible can be struck down as malarkey and yet God can still possibly exist. Anti-theists, most ironically scientists, sort of miss that point when they argue their cause.)

nicwolff - an entire bag! That's a lot of cock. Anyway, maybe I misstated myself originally. I wanted someone to present credible evidence of that "better to eliminate religion" argument besides the same accusatory "violent believer" stuff that really doesn't work out for me in the end. (as I've stated above)

It's a really interesting anthropological question - does the belief in God have any affect on the development of a given society, and how? Atheists instead tend to argue that "God leads to insane people" and let that result lead to the ultimate conclusion that a theistic society is an insane society - which is not an interesting argument at all, especially if you're on Team God.
posted by brianvan at 11:30 AM on January 3, 2007


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