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Old 11-29-2009, 08:18 PM   #76
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I can't really answer this without insulting anyone, but I find the idea of believing in an unseen entity a little, well, childlike. It's so make-believe at its most base level. Added on to that is a whole slew of notions which are manipulated and created/recreated to suit a need, that I find the idea of it being the truth nothing but preposterous. Millions of people and thousands of years do not an accurate historical account make. Let's not even bother with contemplating the countless interpretations of this particular book.

In a nutshell, humankind cannot have practically maintained this Christian religious caper to what it was supposed to be. The requirement of belief in an intangible entity is akin to Sally on Home & Away with her Milko friend. That the ever changing and evolving beliefs are a truth and the only true measure of morals? Bullshit. I am absolutely aware of right and wrong without God, Jesus or some ghostly spirit.
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:48 PM   #77
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Why are you not a Christian?
Several reasons:

1. To be a Christian requires faith:

Quote:
Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony.[1913 Webster]
2. It requires faith in a god:

Quote:
A being conceived of as possessing supernatural power, and to be propitiated by sacrifice, worship, etc.; a divinity; a deity; an object of worship; an idol.
3. It requires the complete, irrational faith in a god to achieve an eternal life in heaven:

Quote:
All who thus believe in Christ will certainly be saved (John 6:37, 40; 10:27, 28; Rom. 8:1)
Quote:
It is called "paradise" (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7)
Quote:
The "better country" (Heb. 11:14, 16)
4. It can be used as tool to take advantage of its followers:

- The Crusades
- Mass suicides, e.g. People's Temple
- Sexual Abuse
- Tithing
- Inquisition

5. Christianity is intolerant.

Quote:
Not tolerating difference of opinion or sentiment, especially in religious matters; refusing to allow others the enjoyment of their opinions, rights, or worship; unjustly impatient of the opinion of those disagree with us; not tolerant; unforbearing; bigoted
6. Christianity inhibits learning and revision. In particular, it has for years been slow to adopt scientific explanations, explanations advocated by true evidence, and has recently had to revise its own beliefs in order to closely match those of realities.

7. Why are you a Christian?
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:50 PM   #78
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Thanks again for starting this thread, Iron Horse. Really, good job!
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:22 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Kieran McConville View Post
Thanks again for starting this thread, Iron Horse. Really, good job!

By his own admission, he trolls. He's said that he posts on this board and a Linkin Park board to proselytize. (I'm not sure I spelled Linkin Park correctly, but you know who I mean.) He rarely comes back to post in his own threads. He thinks he's doing people a favor by doing this shit.

And then people can come here and be as insulting as they like, thinking they're only insulting a troll.
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:25 PM   #80
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By his own admission, he trolls.
How .... distasteful.
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:42 PM   #81
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You know we do have this handy ignore feature...
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:43 AM   #82
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why am i not christian?

common sense?
There are quite a few intellectual and educated Christians. You can't simply write it off that easily...as I wouldn't completely dismiss those in Buddhism or pure Atheism as lacking anything intellectually. There many reasons individuals come to their faith...or lack of it.

And a vast majority of greatest philosophers and writers throughout history acknowledge God in some way...
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:55 AM   #83
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Thanks again for starting this thread, Iron Horse. Really, good job!
I think it is one of the better threads we have had in here in some time.

No one has to answer.
I think all the name calling (trolling) is unfortunate and not very kind or Christian.
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:57 AM   #84
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By his own admission, he trolls. He's said that he posts on this board and a Linkin Park board to proselytize.
.
Maybe Linkin Park fans do need to be prayed for.

God bless them, for they know not what utter crap they listen to.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:08 AM   #85
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The generalisations made in this thread are offensive to moderate Christians, but there is a legitimate point about the connections between knowledge, intelligence, and religious belief. Smart people can be very devout, but it often seems they have been raised in a religious tradition and come up with clever accommodations between faith and reason later on in life.

I have an axe to grind with the political and cultural interference of religion on peoples freedoms, so if it doesn't pick my pocket or break my leg then I don't have a problem with peoples right to believe and practice whatever they want.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:30 AM   #86
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I think it is one of the better threads we have had in here in some time.

No one has to answer.
I think all the name calling (trolling) is unfortunate and not very kind or Christian.
No one has to answer but they will, because the thread is here to be answered. And the name calling is inevitable.

So again, great discussion starter, Iron Horse.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:36 AM   #87
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Lots of threads don't get many responses

and the name callers are responsible for there own actions

I really don't see Iron Horse ever calling names

this thread has only given believers and non-believers a chance write something (if they choose to or not)
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:45 AM   #88
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Well this has been a nice meta-discussion, and I know it's my own fault, I really should have resiled from more commenting.

You are correct, Iron Horse didn't call anyone names. Sorry if my post was opaque, as it wasn't actually him I was referring to (except for starting the damn thread, which he must have known would turn sour, it's like asking when you stopped beating your wife).
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Old 11-30-2009, 05:53 AM   #89
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I have no problem with what faith remains in my own life, as it does not stand in contradiction to what I know, but is beyond what I know. To the best of my knowledge it does not impinge on my freedom, nor does it require me to give up my intellect. If it did, that would be a different matter.

To all the usual arguments rolled out above:

All human institutions and endeavours can be used to control people. Every last one. Enter with your eyes wide open.

'Religion is intolerant'. Whatever. Gosh. I don't even know where to start.

Angela Harlem: 'childlike'. Again. Whatever. Irrational, childlike, the words just roll one over the other. We human beings have intellect and rationality, for sure. But I think there is more to the experience than that.
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:35 AM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kieran McConville View Post
You are correct, Iron Horse didn't call anyone names. Sorry if my post was opaque, as it wasn't actually him I was referring to (except for starting the damn thread, which he must have known would turn sour, it's like asking when you stopped beating your wife).
I think part of the reason so many people who are atheists (and agnostics, because many people think of agnostics are the same as atheists) -- at least in the US -- often get so testy is we often face a terrific amount of venom from "believers."

There's this study:

Quote:
Atheists Identified as America’s Most Distrusted Minority,
According to Sociological Study


Washington, DC—American’s increasing acceptance of religious diversity does not extend to those who don’t believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota’s department of sociology. The study will appear in the April issue of the American Sociological Review.

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.

Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens—they share an understanding of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.”

The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is related not only to personal religiosity, but also to one’s exposure to diversity, education and political orientation—with more educated, East and West Coast Americans more accepting of atheists than their Midwestern counterparts.

The study is co-authored by assistant professor Joseph Gerteis and associate professor Doug Hartmann. It’s the first in a series of national studies conducted the American Mosaic Project, a three-year project funded by the Minneapolis-based David Edelstein Family Foundation that looks at race, religion and cultural diversity in the contemporary United States.
link


this article on the same study gives some of the percentages:

Quote:
Given the increasing religiosity of American culture, it's perhaps not too surprising that a new study out this month finds that Americans are not fond of atheists and trust them less than they do other groups. The depth of this distrust is a bit astonishing nonetheless.

More than 2,000 randomly selected people were interviewed by researchers from the University of Minnesota.

Asked whether they would disapprove of a child's wish to marry an atheist, 47.6 percent of those interviewed said yes. Asked the same question about Muslims and African-Americans, the yes responses fell to 33.5 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively. The yes responses for Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Jews and conservative Christians were 18.5 percent, 18.5 percent, 11.8 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

When asked which groups did not share their vision of American society, 39.5 percent of those interviewed mentioned atheists. Asked the same question about Muslims and homosexuals, the figures dropped to a slightly less depressing 26.3 percent and 22.6 percent, respectively. For Hispanics, Jews, Asian-Americans and African-Americans, they fell further to 7.6 percent, 7.4 percent, 7.0 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.

The study contains other results, but these are sufficient to underline its gist: Atheists are seen by many Americans (especially conservative Christians) as alien and are, in the words of sociologist Penny Edgell, the study's lead researcher, "a glaring exception to the rule of increasing tolerance over the last 30 years."

Edgell also maintains that atheists seem to be outside the limits of American morality, which has largely been defined by religion.

Many of those interviewed saw atheists as cultural elitists, amoral materialists, or given to criminal behavior or drugs. She states, "Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good."

Of course, it should go without saying, but won't, that belief in God isn't at all necessary to have a keen ethical concern for others.

The study will appear in the April issue of the American Sociological Review and is co-written by assistant professor Joseph Gerteis and associate professor Doug Hartmann.
link


and then there's the outcry over atheist ads on buses as noted in this charming article:

Quote:
A group of humanists announced this week plans to plaster over 200 buses in Washington DC with ads bearing its "godless holiday" message.

Ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake", will appear on the outside and inside of DC Metro buses starting next Tuesday and will run throughout December. Newspaper versions of the ads ran in The New York Times and The Washington Post this week.

The advertising campaign is part of an effort by the American Humanist Association to reach out to like-minded individuals around the nation's capital and elsewhere who might be interested in humanism. The atheist group espouses the belief that people can live a moral life apart from a belief in a god or the afterlife.

"Humanists have always understood that you don't need a god to be good," said AHA executive director Roy Speckhardt. "So that's the point we're making with this advertising campaign. Morality doesn't come from religion. It's a set of values embraced by individuals and society based on empathy, fairness, and experience."

One version of the ad features a black Santa shrugging under red and green-coloured text with snowflakes appearing in the background. Posters of the ad will be mounted on the side of DC Metro buses, between the taillights, and behind the driver's seat.

Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group, said the campaign seeks to connect with "non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion", according to Fox News.

The move by the American humanists comes one month after the British Humanist Association said it will run ads declaring "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life" on London buses in January.

British author Richard Dawkins, an activist for a more outspoken and aggressive brand of atheism, which some refer to as "militant atheism", has offered to part fund the London ads.

Whilst the Methodist Church in the UK believes the "no God" ads will have the opposite effect from the one intended and stir an interest in God, Christians in America are not amused at AHA's "godless holiday campaign".

For many Christian groups, the campaign signifies that the cultural war to divorce Christ from Christmas is intensifying.

"It is the ultimate 'grinch' to suggest there is no God during a holiday where millions of people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is insensitive and mean," remarked Mathew D Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian legal group that has defended the rights of cities and schools to display nativity scenes and Christmas decorations.

"Christmas is a time of joy and hope, not a time for hate," added Staver. "Why believe in God? - Because Santa is not the only one coming to town."

Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Association, which has encouraged its three million member base to boycott businesses that censor Christmas, described the ad as "stupid". He says he cannot understand the logic of the ad's message telling people to be good apart from a belief in God.

"How do we define 'good' if we don't believe in God? God in his word, the Bible, tells us what's good and bad and right and wrong. If we are each ourselves defining what's good, it's going to be a crazy world," said Wildmon, according to Fox News.

Roberta Combs, who heads the Christian Coalition of America, said the campaign's attempt to ban God and Christmas from the public square will not sit well with many Americans.

Unlike Britain, where six in ten people admit they have no religious affiliation, according to a report by the United Nations, the United States is a nation that still overwhelmingly professes a belief in God. Earlier this year, a poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 92 per cent of Americans believe in God.

"Although a number of humanists and atheists continue to attempt to rid God and Christmas from the public square, the American people are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts," said Combs.

She also cited a recent poll published by NBC that found 86 per cent of Americans in favour of keeping "In God We Trust" as the nation's motto and the reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance.

A spokeswoman at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said the agency accepts ads that are not obscene or pornographic, reported Fox News.

But Combs said her organisation plans to mobilise its 2.5 million supporters to contact city officials and Congress to stop the "un-Godly campaign."
link

I've heard people say atheists shouldn't be allowed to hold public office, vote, teach children, even shouldn't be allowed to be US citizens, and should "go back where they came from" even if their families have been in the US for generations. We get told we can't possibly be good people because we don't believe in god (not only in "real life" but also right here in FYM) and that we are responsible for all sorts of moral decay. Meanwhile, we have certain "Christians" getting their shorts in a twist because some sales clerk said Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings instead of Merry Christmas.

No we shouldn't be snarky, because I'm pretty sure we all know not every Christian thinks this way, but this kind of shit gets old.
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