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Old 05-09-2013, 09:12 AM   #181
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I believe God does help you out because I've felt that myself.

But there are times when God believes you can do it yourself, because He has faith in you.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:38 AM   #182
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I don't think Buddhists believe in a divine being, for one (correct me if I'm wrong...iYup?).
Like Pearl said, I think this varies by region and sect. Buddhism in its original form certainly did not promote a bearded old guy sort of divinity, but in China and Tibet, the bodhisattva figures and Buddha himself start to become supernatural, for lack of a better term.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:28 AM   #183
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I cannot understand any belief in an intervening God. That makes less than no sense to me.
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:14 AM   #184
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install a communist state. .

]

People who use that kind of verbiage, and the sheep who swallow it, should be beaten with a heavy book (don't really care of you use a bible or a copy of das kapital, both are usually hefty enough to do the trick) because it reveals such a base misunderstanding of communism vs totalitarianism that should automatically render any further argument utterly useless, completely independent of political affinities. Funny story, they aren't actually the same thing. I know this is usually Vlad territory, because he's the one who consistently points out that bit, but it drives me a little crazy as well. And I don't even call myself a communist.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:46 AM   #185
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People who use that kind of verbiage, and the sheep who swallow it, should be beaten with a heavy book (don't really care of you use a bible or a copy of das kapital, both are usually hefty enough to do the trick) because it reveals such a base misunderstanding of communism vs totalitarianism that should automatically render any further argument utterly useless, completely independent of political affinities. Funny story, they aren't actually the same thing. I know this is usually Vlad territory, because he's the one who consistently points out that bit, but it drives me a little crazy as well. And I don't even call myself a communist.

I think it is because some of these people grew up during the Cold War and had the fear of communism drilled into their heads - so anything remotely resembling communism in the totalitarianism sense makes them get this irrational. Now as for younger people who don't remember much of the Cold War, and mostly remember the fall of the Iron Curtain, I have no idea what they are thinking. I'd say they are more loony than older generations.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:18 PM   #186
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After this thread was bumped, something occurred to me that I missed the first time around. Forgive me Pearl, I don't mean to jump all over you, but it was just illustrated so clearly here. Also, I don't have any doubt that you will reply with a well thought out post, so in that sense, you might be the perfect 'target' (but not really a target... you know)

Anyway, this exchange highlights how religious belief is treated differently than any other belief:

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I'm not sure she'd be presenting us with anything other than the usual tropes the Dinesh D'Souza's of the world constantly do.
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And please don't jump to conclusions that someone is a conspiracy wacko because they defend God. It sounds judgmental based on bias.
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When you mentioned Dinesh D'Souza, I thought you were because that guy is a huge Obama conspiracy theorist.
.......
I also want to say that I am more likely to listen to an atheist who believes humans have evolved away from the notion of God rather than one who thinks humans have been manipulated or stupid for millennia.
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D'Souza released a documentary last year called "2016" where he claimed Obama was going to make himself dictator of America and install a communist state. A lot of Americans saw it and believe it. I bow my head in shame that I share my country with those people.
How is it that we can throw around the word 'wacko' when speaking about someone's political beliefs, but as soon as we veer into religious territory, it's hands off? I'm not defending D'Souza; continue with the ridicule, please. But it strikes me as being entirely unfair that we can 'bow our heads in shame' that a large portion of a country believes something politically, but whenever the same thing is said about religion, that person gets skewered. And again, this isn't a direct attack on Pearl. She's not the first to display this imbalance and she certainly won't be the last. I'm sure it's so commonplace that it didn't even occur to any of you. When we add in the fact that D'Souza's beliefs are no more irrational than religious ones (an argument could be made that they are in fact more rational), we can begin to see that religion is undeservedly held with kids gloves
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:16 PM   #187
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I think it is because some of these people grew up during the Cold War and had the fear of communism drilled into their heads - so anything remotely resembling communism in the totalitarianism sense makes them get this irrational. Now as for younger people who don't remember much of the Cold War, and mostly remember the fall of the Iron Curtain, I have no idea what they are thinking. I'd say they are more loony than older generations.
Anything resembling totalitarianism or dictatorship = communism, you mean. That's what was drilled into their heads, which is entirely inaccurate. Still a pretty bad excuse for remaining ignorant.
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:24 PM   #188
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This is my initial response, and I'm sure I'll have a more in-depth answer later.

If someone believes in God or gods or what have you, does that automatically mean they deserve to be labeled as wackos, mentally ill, weak, stupid, etc? If they are the Fred Phelps, yes I can see why anyone would think so - because even I do. That's because what he and his family does is dangerous and based on hate and fear. They also lack empathy for everyone - gays, military families, victims of shooting sprees, etc.

But what if someone has their beliefs, yet doesn't bother anyone, lives a good life, and doesn't attack anyone for not agreeing with them - do they deserve to be labeled as stupid and mentally ill?

I know a few people who firmly believe in astrology. They read their horoscopes everyday and identify with being Aries, Capricorn, etc. They might even nudge you and say, "I think so-so is a Scorpio. Look at how she does xyz!" But that's it. I don't believe in astrology because my horoscopes never came true and my personality doesn't add up to my sign. But I don't worry about those who do. I may roll my eyes a bit, but I'm not going to rant and rave about how stupid those people are. I also wouldn't think the world is in trouble.

However - I have dealt with others who take astrology to the extreme. I once had an interview with this woman who needed a blogger for her women oriented website. She asked me what was my sign. I was baffled because that was such an odd question. When I said Gemini, you should've seen the look on her face. Not that is dangerous. She basically discriminated against me and labeled me over something that is so narrow. That is someone I'd complain about because she is actively hurting others.

Or how about vegetarians and animal rights advocates? If they were the type who weren't militant about me eating meat, I wouldn't mind their beliefs even if I disagree and wouldn't mind playfully challenging them. But if they were to start screaming at me, calling me a murderer and all, I'll just laugh and make a big show of eating chicken or ham.

My point is, there are some beliefs out there that baffle and don't add up to me. But I don't see the point in getting upset that someone sees the world differently than me - unless they actually hurt me in some way, or others too. I think it is possible to think differently than others and not lose rationale.

My reason for being upset over D'Souza and his crowd is because they are dangerous in the sense that they are spreading fear to those who are already fearful. And from what I've seen with my radically conservative family and the blogs they refer to, I think it is highly possible that a lot of terrible things can go wrong. The political polarization in this country scares me more than anything, because I don't see it getting better and knowing how blind some people are with their fears, I'm surprised blood hasn't been spilled yet (honestly).

Now yes, a lot of the political problems here are related to religion, particularly abortion, SSM, evolution, etc. I do believe in separation from church and state, because we're a diverse nation and democracy is about letting everyone think for themselves. The radical conservatives are preventing democracy by trying to enforce their beliefs on others.

My lunch break is coming up, so I'll end this quickly: if you want to criticize someone for believing in God and also aims to enforce their beliefs on others, I say go ahead. There is a mental illness there - and not because they believe there is something out there. I'd say the mental illness there is more narcissistic like - as in, everyone must believe and live like they do. Yes, it sucks that some of these people wear crosses around their necks because they give everyone else a bad name. It especially sucks that they claim to be God-fearing people yet fail to realize the Bible makes a huge emphasis on humility.

OK, I'm totally rambling here and I probably make no sense. In fact, nothing in this post makes sense and sounds fractured. All I can say is, why bow your head in shame that some people believe in God but are good people who mind their business? I don't bow my head in shame that some believe in astrology or that eating meat is wrong. But if they were militant, then I will.

As I said before, I'll get back to you later. I also probably missed your point altogether. I can't wait to see the smilies in response to this post.
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:25 PM   #189
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How is it that we can throw around the word 'wacko' when speaking about someone's political beliefs, but as soon as we veer into religious territory, it's hands off? I'm not defending D'Souza; continue with the ridicule, please. But it strikes me as being entirely unfair that we can 'bow our heads in shame' that a large portion of a country believes something politically, but whenever the same thing is said about religion, that person gets skewered. And again, this isn't a direct attack on Pearl. She's not the first to display this imbalance and she certainly won't be the last. I'm sure it's so commonplace that it didn't even occur to any of you. When we add in the fact that D'Souza's beliefs are no more irrational than religious ones (an argument could be made that they are in fact more rational), we can begin to see that religion is undeservedly held with kids gloves
Because we're talking about fringe microcosms, not entire groups. No one is calling all Democrats wacko, or all Republicans wacko, just a small microcosm within that group.
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:26 PM   #190
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Anything resembling totalitarianism or dictatorship = communism, you mean. That's what was drilled into their heads, which is entirely inaccurate. Still a pretty bad excuse for remaining ignorant.
Isn't that what the Red Scare, McCarthyism and everyone else said about communism? Granted, the USSR declared itself to be communist and look at how the people lived. I think the confusion makes sense there.
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:26 PM   #191
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After this thread was bumped, something occurred to me that I missed the first time around. Forgive me Pearl, I don't mean to jump all over you, but it was just illustrated so clearly here. Also, I don't have any doubt that you will reply with a well thought out post, so in that sense, you might be the perfect 'target' (but not really a target... you know)

Anyway, this exchange highlights how religious belief is treated differently than any other belief:

How is it that we can throw around the word 'wacko' when speaking about someone's political beliefs, but as soon as we veer into religious territory, it's hands off? I'm not defending D'Souza; continue with the ridicule, please. But it strikes me as being entirely unfair that we can 'bow our heads in shame' that a large portion of a country believes something politically, but whenever the same thing is said about religion, that person gets skewered. And again, this isn't a direct attack on Pearl. She's not the first to display this imbalance and she certainly won't be the last. I'm sure it's so commonplace that it didn't even occur to any of you. When we add in the fact that D'Souza's beliefs are no more irrational than religious ones (an argument could be made that they are in fact more rational), we can begin to see that religion is undeservedly held with kids gloves
I don't know, I'm perfectly comfortable calling religious zealots whackos. I probably do it more often than I call people with political views that fall in any extreme side of the spectrum, because the political nutcases almost always have a religious component (even in places where on paper we have such a thing as separation of church and state--one of the major criteria in determining whackoness for me is when said politicians try to ignore this notion exists) to their whackery.
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:04 PM   #192
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Because we're talking about fringe microcosms, not entire groups. No one is calling all Democrats wacko, or all Republicans wacko, just a small microcosm within that group.
But if you go back to the first page of this thread, you have data that shows it's not just a small group of Islam that supports death for breaking rules of a prophet.

This isn't a small #
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:17 PM   #193
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But if you go back to the first page of this thread, you have data that shows it's not just a small group of Islam that supports death for breaking rules of a prophet.

This isn't a small #
Well actually the survey never did give us an overall number of Muslims in general who believed that, it gave those percentages for certain countries which ranged from 29% - 80%, also it didn't talk about breaking the rules, just those that converted.
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:29 PM   #194
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If someone believes in God or gods or what have you, does that automatically mean they deserve to be labeled as wackos, mentally ill, weak, stupid, etc? If they are the Fred Phelps, yes I can see why anyone would think so - because even I do. That's because what he and his family does is dangerous and based on hate and fear. They also lack empathy for everyone - gays, military families, victims of shooting sprees, etc.
Here's my take on this: people deserve to be criticized for their religious beliefs when they prioritize those beliefs over the well-being of people around them. The same thing goes for any ideology.
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:42 PM   #195
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Here's my take on this: people deserve to be criticized for their religious beliefs when they prioritize those beliefs over the well-being of people around them. The same thing goes for any ideology.

You basically summed up my entire rambling post in a few words. I salute you.
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:08 PM   #196
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This is my initial response, and I'm sure I'll have a more in-depth answer later.

If someone believes in God or gods or what have you, does that automatically mean they deserve to be labeled as wackos, mentally ill, weak, stupid, etc? If they are the Fred Phelps, yes I can see why anyone would think so - because even I do. That's because what he and his family does is dangerous and based on hate and fear. They also lack empathy for everyone - gays, military families, victims of shooting sprees, etc.

But what if someone has their beliefs, yet doesn't bother anyone, lives a good life, and doesn't attack anyone for not agreeing with them - do they deserve to be labeled as stupid and mentally ill?

I know a few people who firmly believe in astrology. They read their horoscopes everyday and identify with being Aries, Capricorn, etc. They might even nudge you and say, "I think so-so is a Scorpio. Look at how she does xyz!" But that's it. I don't believe in astrology because my horoscopes never came true and my personality doesn't add up to my sign. But I don't worry about those who do. I may roll my eyes a bit, but I'm not going to rant and rave about how stupid those people are. I also wouldn't think the world is in trouble.

However - I have dealt with others who take astrology to the extreme. I once had an interview with this woman who needed a blogger for her women oriented website. She asked me what was my sign. I was baffled because that was such an odd question. When I said Gemini, you should've seen the look on her face. Not that is dangerous. She basically discriminated against me and labeled me over something that is so narrow. That is someone I'd complain about because she is actively hurting others.

Or how about vegetarians and animal rights advocates? If they were the type who weren't militant about me eating meat, I wouldn't mind their beliefs even if I disagree and wouldn't mind playfully challenging them. But if they were to start screaming at me, calling me a murderer and all, I'll just laugh and make a big show of eating chicken or ham.

My point is, there are some beliefs out there that baffle and don't add up to me. But I don't see the point in getting upset that someone sees the world differently than me - unless they actually hurt me in some way, or others too. I think it is possible to think differently than others and not lose rationale.

My reason for being upset over D'Souza and his crowd is because they are dangerous in the sense that they are spreading fear to those who are already fearful. And from what I've seen with my radically conservative family and the blogs they refer to, I think it is highly possible that a lot of terrible things can go wrong. The political polarization in this country scares me more than anything, because I don't see it getting better and knowing how blind some people are with their fears, I'm surprised blood hasn't been spilled yet (honestly).

Now yes, a lot of the political problems here are related to religion, particularly abortion, SSM, evolution, etc. I do believe in separation from church and state, because we're a diverse nation and democracy is about letting everyone think for themselves. The radical conservatives are preventing democracy by trying to enforce their beliefs on others.

My lunch break is coming up, so I'll end this quickly: if you want to criticize someone for believing in God and also aims to enforce their beliefs on others, I say go ahead. There is a mental illness there - and not because they believe there is something out there. I'd say the mental illness there is more narcissistic like - as in, everyone must believe and live like they do. Yes, it sucks that some of these people wear crosses around their necks because they give everyone else a bad name. It especially sucks that they claim to be God-fearing people yet fail to realize the Bible makes a huge emphasis on humility.

OK, I'm totally rambling here and I probably make no sense. In fact, nothing in this post makes sense and sounds fractured. All I can say is, why bow your head in shame that some people believe in God but are good people who mind their business? I don't bow my head in shame that some believe in astrology or that eating meat is wrong. But if they were militant, then I will.

As I said before, I'll get back to you later. I also probably missed your point altogether. I can't wait to see the smilies in response to this post.
But you're making the classic mistake of equating a criticism of an ideology to a criticism of a group of people. This thread wasn't called "Muslims are Savages" it was a strongly worded critique on their ideology.

Astrology is dumb. Period. The people who believe in Astrology are painfully uninformed and foolish, but I'm not saying they're wackos. Willfully ignorant, maybe...certainly. But I'm able to separate the person from the belief.
It also helps that astrology isn't being used to shape public policy. But I challenge you to explain to me how a public policy based on astrology would be any different than one based on Christianity. How would you be able to rationalize one over the other?

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Because we're talking about fringe microcosms, not entire groups. No one is calling all Democrats wacko, or all Republicans wacko, just a small microcosm within that group.
You're getting a bit too caught up in the specific example when it was really just meant to illustrate a point, but that's fine. Why is it okay to criticize a fringe group but not a larger one? I hesitate to use the word, because it shouldn't apply to grown adults, but this seems a bit like societal bullying. What is it about being a small microcosm that leaves your beliefs open to accusations of being a wacko? By this rationale, we're free to call the Amish wackos as long as we lay off Christians as a whole.
But again, you're making the mistake of attaching people to the criticism on an ideology. You wouldn't have to venture far from this thread to find rather harsh words for the Republican party in your country. Why can we criticize "the Republican Party" but not "Christianity"? Surely there's a similar amount of variation in beliefs among those two populations.

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Well actually the survey never did give us an overall number of Muslims in general who believed that, it gave those percentages for certain countries which ranged from 29% - 80%, also it didn't talk about breaking the rules, just those that converted.
The survey illustrated quite clearly that these aren't fringe groups we're talking about. I'm not sure what that last bit means. Do you mean converted out of Islam? That's breaking the rules

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Here's my take on this: people deserve to be criticized for their religious beliefs when they prioritize those beliefs over the well-being of people around them. The same thing goes for any ideology.
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You basically summed up my entire rambling post in a few words. I salute you.
I suppose in a perfect utopia this would be fine (I'd argue a utopia would be free from religion, but I digress), but even putting aside the complete chaos religion is inflicting on the Middle East, religion is far from not affecting the non practicing population in North America. It's nice to think that you can practice religion in your home and in your church and that's the extent of it, but it's just not the way society, at least this society, works. Christianity constantly has its finger in everyone else's pudding.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:20 PM   #197
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It's nice to think that you can practice religion in your home and in your church and that's the extent of it, but it's just not the way society, at least this society, works. Christianity constantly has its finger in everyone else's pudding.
I've posted on this a number of times, but this is an excellent point.

Actually the early Christians specifically rejected the notion of meddling in social/governmental affairs and viewed their path to salvation as exclusively preparing their hearts/souls for the arrival of the kingdom. An internal, not external practice. This contributed in large part to the split between the early Christians (who were typically Jews) from Judaism.

Judaism and Islam are NOT like Christianity (or at least the Christianity preached by Jesus and practiced by early Christians and not today's hopeful theocrats) in that those religions in essence demand that their religion permeates their entire social fabric. Jesus-era Jews, for example, could not submit to being ruled by polytheist Romans whereas early Christians did not wish to join them and rise up against Roman rule as they did not see this as necessary to their own salvation. The Koran is actually much more explicit with a number of verses which are often hotly debated about what they actually mean (i.e. does it really say "slay the polytheist wherever you may find him" and so on). But it is the same idea. Islam as a religion does not lend itself to playing second fiddle to a secular government.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:36 PM   #198
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But you're making the classic mistake of equating a criticism of an ideology to a criticism of a group of people. This thread wasn't called "Muslims are Savages" it was a strongly worded critique on their ideology.
I see your point, Jive. But I have seen many cases of atheists criticizing not just a religious ideology, but the people who follow them. Heck, some have even harassed theists - I once had a co-worker many years ago attempt to poor water over my head to mock my beliefs. Maybe you are not the type to call theists mentally ill or weak, but plenty are. Forgive me for equating you with them, but my defenses are up.

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Astrology is dumb. Period. The people who believe in Astrology are painfully uninformed and foolish, but I'm not saying they're wackos. Willfully ignorant, maybe...certainly. But I'm able to separate the person from the belief.
Well, that's good to know.

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It also helps that astrology isn't being used to shape public policy. But I challenge you to explain to me how a public policy based on astrology would be any different than one based on Christianity. How would you be able to rationalize one over the other?
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I suppose in a perfect utopia this would be fine (I'd argue a utopia would be free from religion, but I digress), but even putting aside the complete chaos religion is inflicting on the Middle East, religion is far from not affecting the non practicing population in North America. It's nice to think that you can practice religion in your home and in your church and that's the extent of it, but it's just not the way society, at least this society, works. Christianity constantly has its finger in everyone else's pudding.
If you mean institutionalized astrology where people's rights are determined by their sign, I would think that's nuts and very wrong. But you seem to be saying everyone who is a Christian - or any other faith - is discriminating against everyone who is different from them. I fail to see how I gave that impression to you, if I did. What am I, guilty by association?
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:56 PM   #199
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I see your point, Jive. But I have seen many cases of atheists criticizing not just a religious ideology, but the people who follow them. Heck, some have even harassed theists - I once had a co-worker many years ago attempt to poor water over my head to mock my beliefs. Maybe you are not the type to call theists mentally ill or weak, but plenty are. Forgive me for equating you with them, but my defenses are up.
Your co-worker was an asshole. I'm not defending people who make things personal. I'm just asking why we can't treat debates on religion the way we treat every other debate without people getting their knickers in a twist.
And no need to ask for forgiveness. I'm un-offendable


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If you mean institutionalized astrology where people's rights are determined by their sign, I would think that's nuts and very wrong. But you seem to be saying everyone who is a Christian - or any other faith - is discriminating against everyone who is different from them. I fail to see how I gave that impression to you, if I did. What am I, guilty by association?
You think it would be nuts and very wrong, well guess what? (I don't need to finish that thought, I'm sure ). What if instead of creationism (I refuse to call it intelligent design) interfering in biology class, we had astrology interfering in astronomy class? What if it was required that each student read his or her horoscope before class each day? Or when in court, you swore an oath on your zodiac? I'm sure you'd think this was all an irrational impediment to learning and a vestige of a more ignorant time. And you'd be right! But that's what's happening today with religion.

And you're doing it again, Pearl (Bad Pearl!). I'm not implying that you're guilty by association or discriminatory. I'm not equating the ideology to the people. Sure, at some level, there are dick wads pulling the strings. And at some point, it certainly does become about the person; A homophobe hiding behind his or her religion is still a homophobe none the less.
But we might be speaking around my point a little. It wasn't about discrimination. It was about the need for rational discourse about religion without treating it with undue respect
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:04 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by anitram View Post
I've posted on this a number of times, but this is an excellent point.

Actually the early Christians specifically rejected the notion of meddling in social/governmental affairs and viewed their path to salvation as exclusively preparing their hearts/souls for the arrival of the kingdom. An internal, not external practice. This contributed in large part to the split between the early Christians (who were typically Jews) from Judaism.

Judaism and Islam are NOT like Christianity (or at least the Christianity preached by Jesus and practiced by early Christians and not today's hopeful theocrats) in that those religions in essence demand that their religion permeates their entire social fabric. Jesus-era Jews, for example, could not submit to being ruled by polytheist Romans whereas early Christians did not wish to join them and rise up against Roman rule as they did not see this as necessary to their own salvation. The Koran is actually much more explicit with a number of verses which are often hotly debated about what they actually mean (i.e. does it really say "slay the polytheist wherever you may find him" and so on). But it is the same idea. Islam as a religion does not lend itself to playing second fiddle to a secular government.
Very informative post
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