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2 Tenets of Atheism


Gail

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I guess I'd be that single person.If a tree is known by it's fruit (good tree=good fruit)then any discussion concerning God, or the lack thereof, cannot simply ignore the evidence of it's fruit.

So what do you have to say about the fruits of the Christian church when it was the state religion in Europe for over a thousand years?

What do you have to say about its violence?

What do you have to say about its inquisition?

What do you have to say about the witch hunts?

What do you have to say about the cruelty and torture of any opposed to official church doctrine?

What do you have to say about the Christian church's systematic destruction of libraries and the knowledge of the ancient world?

What do you think caused the Dark ages?

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Hey cardw

I just wanted to wish you and your family a happy new year! I have enjoyed all your questions and challenges - even the irritating ones! It's a good chance to learn and grow, so thanks for all your efforts, and I look forward to another year of the same!!

Thank you for your kind words

And happy new year to you as well

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Nobel prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who grew up under the atheistic communism of the Soviet Union, stated the following about the influence of atheism as a central component of communism:

"Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot. To achieve its diabolical ends, Communism needs to control a population devoid of religious and national feeling, and this entails a destruction of faith and nationhood. Communists proclaim both of these objectives openly, and just as openly put them into practice."(Alexander Solzhenitsyn)

Solzhenitsyn, Acceptance Speech, Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, 1983; Russkaia Mysl', no. 3465, 19 May, 1983, p. 6 ®.

Note the distinction. He does not say atheism itself, but militant atheism.

If one can understand the destructive nature of religion on Europe of that day one can understand the over reaction by non believers to this oppressive religious power.

Atheism does not lead to violence. Certain views on the value of human beings leads to violence. One can rationalize violence from both non-religious and religious positions. That is easy to see from history. So this focus on atheism as having anything to say about violence is unfounded. You would have a point if 100 percent of atheists promoted violence.

In todays world self professed atheists are clearly the least violent people on the earth. Remember Buddhists are atheists. Many scientists are atheist and they tend to be pretty mild mannered.

Most of the people I see banging their swords today are religious. That is why atheists today are saying that religion should no longer hold this position of being beyond criticism.

I think Marx was making the same point in his day due to the abuses of religious power. We can see the same attitude today in the emails of prominent atheists. The expressions of violence by Christians is horrifying.

You don't see near the same volume of violence by non-believers.

Religion can clearly be placed at the root of violence today in many cases. Specific religious beliefs promote violence.

Claiming that there is no god doesn't have a direct link to violence. You have to have an intervening belief. Just as believing in god doesn't have a direct link to violence. It too, has to have an intervening belief.

You will notice that I do not claim that being a theist leads to violence. What I do say is that a literal interpretation of the Bible does lead to violence. The Bible clearly states that its god is going to use a final solution of violence.

How is god destroying and torturing billions of people at the end of time a testament to the lack of violence within Christianity?

I think that is a pretty hard sell.

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I think you're on to something here, OA. Seems I remember that a certain country, in defiance of religion, once hailed a "goddess of reason"...while the women knitted.Also seems like someone here at CA is insistent on calling on reason to understand the complexities of life and to be our guide to a better life. Atheism,saying it is not a religion, is like 7-Up calling itself "the unsoda".

I did not appeal to atheism for my appeal to reason. I appealed to form of humanism. I'm agnostic anyway.

Humanism is based on reason, a form of the golden rule, and empathy. It values humanity unconditionally. It promotes the great potential in each human person.

I choose this based of a form of pragmatism and the assumption that suffering is something to be avoided in most cases.

Address these and quit referring to atheism. I can't respond because there is nothing I'm drawing from atheism to form my values.

Atheism is a negative assertion anyway. You can't draw a positive position from a negative assertion. It just means that you look else where for one's values. It doesn't form those values.

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cardw the only thing I can say about all these examples of Christianity you bring up, is what I would call false Christianity, plain and simple. If you want to accept that or not this is your choice. Not sure why you would want to believe this is what is represents Christianity. Anyway Happy New Year and keep on studying, because Jesus will never give up on you or any of us for that matter.

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PK,

I do think that it's an important distinction here, yet religion and power of authority is inseparable. And history does show that power does lead to compromise in values... hence the common sense would be de-centralization of it rather than dogmatically hand it over to a handful of religious demagogs. I don't really care what their name is.

I think that the problem of religion is that it essentially teaches that the masses are but dumb sheep to be lead by the leaders. I can't tell you how many sermons I walked out of when pastors read the verse about the sheep, and then would say "Sheep are dumb animals". This complex of mental superiority really leads to those heinous actions.

If Christianity indeed was the "light of the world"... this world would be a much better place, especially when the "Christian nation" leads it to "freedom". Yet, it's really ends up being a double-speak and people are repeating those double-speak and double-thinks without even considering what they are saying.

I.E. Humans are free to choose, but we need to pray for God to change them. It's an obvious double-speak. It's a paradox, yet it does not stop religion from repeating it... because it's a well known fact that if you repeat the song long enough... you'll like it. It becomes yours, even if you did not like it. It becomes a mantra. It becomes celebration of Christmas the pagan way, because it's celebrating the birth of Christ :). It becomes the Machiavelian conversion machine that does not fear to tell stories at funeral about Jesus appearing to people and saying "Your mother prayed for you, and I will be accountable to her for your life... why won't you give your life to me." It has no problem with demanding the money from people who hardly get by and accusing them of robbing God if they don't give.

It's shameless really. And I can only imaging to the extend it would go, if it was not restricted by the cultural norms and modern legal system. I hardly think that Dark Ages were accidental in that respect.

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Originally Posted By: doug yowell
I guess I'd be that single person.If a tree is known by it's fruit (good tree=good fruit)then any discussion concerning God, or the lack thereof, cannot simply ignore the evidence of it's fruit.

So what do you have to say about the fruits of the Christian church when it was the state religion in Europe for over a thousand years?

What do you have to say about its violence?

What do you have to say about its inquisition?

What do you have to say about the witch hunts?

What do you have to say about the cruelty and torture of any opposed to official church doctrine?

What do you have to say about the Christian church's systematic destruction of libraries and the knowledge of the ancient world?

What do you think caused the Dark ages?

Is this guilt by association,Rich? Are you echoing the sentiments of Marx against all religion? Most of the Protestant world believes that this religion of the Dark Ages was NOT true Christianity, that it was an apostate religion and are ashamed of it's testimony to the world,and were the receipients of much of the persections you've described. Do you attribute this directly to the teachings of it's namesake and founder? Can you find nothing positive from Christianity since the inception of it's existence? Do you think the world would be a better place today if the religion of the Jews and Christians had never existed?
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cardw the only thing I can say about all these examples of Christianity you bring up, is what I would call false Christianity, plain and simple. If you want to accept that or not this is your choice. Not sure why you would want to believe this is what is represents Christianity. Anyway Happy New Year and keep on studying, because Jesus will never give up on you or any of us for that matter.

I would hope that by now I have made it clear that the dark ages doesn't represent all of Christianity. Why would I endorse the philosophy of Jesus if I thought this?

My point is that forms of Christianity are just as violent and cruel as any other ideology or belief system. Christians are claiming the high ground with no evidence that it does what it claims. It fails just like any other authoritarian system. Sure, there are forms that are not authoritarian, but they have to do some rather sophisticated mental gymnastics to remove the violent value systems within the Bible. If you take the Bible literally it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get past the violence, the tribalism, the us and them, and the bigotry.

Let me ask you this. Why would you believe that Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin represent all atheists?

And yet Christianity tends to label atheists as worse than child molesters. This is the fruit of this type of thinking. It simply demonstrates the failure of Christian culture to even follow a basic non-judgmental value system. It is still following the us and them tribal thinking of the Bible in spite of the contradictory teaching of Jesus right in the midst of it.

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I would hope that by now I have made it clear that the dark ages doesn't represent all of Christianity. Why would I endorse the philosophy of Jesus if I thought this?

My point is that forms of Christianity are just as violent and cruel as any other ideology or belief system. Christians are claiming the high ground with no evidence that it does what it claims. It fails just like any other authoritarian system. Sure, there are forms that are not authoritarian, but they have to do some rather sophisticated mental gymnastics to remove the violent value systems within the Bible. If you take the Bible literally it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get past the violence, the tribalism, the us and them, and the bigotry.

There is a good reason that such things are included in the Bible; and this is one of the things that got me so interested in it. The Bible does not seek to side-step any of these horrible things you mentioned, that people do. God's Word seeks to detail both human and divine natures, to help us understand what it is that God wants us to do and why.

You have made a good point, of sorts, about "christians" conducting "witch-hunts," etc but the Bible does not concern itself with hiding certain sad details of the human condition; rather, it seeks to draw us to God, and show us the way to agape' even in the middle of all the evil actions and customs we see in the world. (Micah 7:8) God truly is love. (1 John 4:8), and love never fails. (1 Cor 13:8)

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Let me ask you this. Why would you believe that Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin represent all atheists?

I don't think anyone would suggest that they represent all atheists, but they-- along with Trotsky, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and Karl Marx-- certainly do represent communists. If they don't, who does? Between Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, how many people did the communists murder? Many more than Hitler.

My only reason for bringing them up was to show that communism is atheistic. If you don't think so, then see what kind of reaction you get from communists when you claim to be a member who believes in the Bible and in Christ's teachings. The first reaction will be laughter and disbelief and then when they find out you are serious, you will be kicked out of the party. I left the Socialist Workers Party when I became an SDA Christian. I couldn't stay because everything it stood for, philosophically, was contrary to the Bible and the SDA church. While I was in the SWP, I never met or heard of a single person who identified himself as a Christian. There is good reason for this. I once wrote to the Militant newspaper and asked why a Christian could not be a Marxist and a communist, and I was told that the reason is that communist ideology is founded on dialectical materialsism, which is atheistic at its core. They told me the truth.

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Originally Posted By: cardw
Let me ask you this. Why would you believe that Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin represent all atheists?

I don't believe that they do. And I doubt that pk does either. But why do you think that these atheists gravitated to a Communistic totalitarianism that persecuted Religions and labeled them enemies of the state?

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Originally Posted By: cardw
Let me ask you this. Why would you believe that Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin represent all atheists?

I don't think anyone would suggest that they represent all atheists, but they-- along with Trotsky, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and Karl Marx-- certainly do represent communists. If they don't, who does? Between Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, how many people did the communists murder? Many more than Hitler.

My only reason for bringing them up was to show that communism is atheistic.

Communism is form of government that happens to have atheists that derive the reason for it from another source than the Bible. Originally the form of government derived from the teachings of Jesus was communism.

This is easily demonstrated by the life of Jesus. He owned no property and told people to sell everything they had and give to the poor. If that isn't redistribution of wealth I don't know what is. Plus the early church pooled their property and wealth and gave to everyone according to their need. That seems to be the basics of communism to me.

Tell me where Jesus taught capitalism.

Christians can obviously derive reasons for violence from the Bible, but not all Christians do. Atheists don't have a Bible, but simply use another source, but being atheists doesn't guarantee an outcome of violence so obviously atheism is not the source any more than Christians are always violent.

If we are to accept that atheism is the cause of violence in this world then we have to accept that Christianity is as well. Maybe we should be rid of them both?

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There is a good reason that such things are included in the Bible; and this is one of the things that got me so interested in it. The Bible does not seek to side-step any of these horrible things you mentioned, that people do. God's Word seeks to detail both human and divine natures, to help us understand what it is that God wants us to do and why.

You have made a good point, of sorts, about "christians" conducting "witch-hunts," etc but the Bible does not concern itself with hiding certain sad details of the human condition; rather, it seeks to draw us to God, and show us the way to agape' even in the middle of all the evil actions and customs we see in the world. (Micah 7:8) God truly is love. (1 John 4:8), and love never fails. (1 Cor 13:8)

You may have personal way of deriving the love of god from the Bible and I'm glad you can do that.

When I read the Bible I don't see that at all. I see a book that is full of tribalism, revenge by god and men, cruelty by god and men, a celebration of human slavery, devaluation of women, and a primitive punishment/reward system of ethics that does nothing to empower people to be self governing.

Obviously there are Christians who are self governed, but I can't find a reason for that from the Bible if you read it literally. You have to really do a lot of semantic manipulation to keep out the cruelty and violence.

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Originally Posted By: Overaged
There is a good reason that such things are included in the Bible; and this is one of the things that got me so interested in it. The Bible does not seek to side-step any of these horrible things you mentioned, that people do. God's Word seeks to detail both human and divine natures, to help us understand what it is that God wants us to do and why.

You have made a good point, of sorts, about "christians" conducting "witch-hunts," etc but the Bible does not concern itself with hiding certain sad details of the human condition; rather, it seeks to draw us to God, and show us the way to agape' even in the middle of all the evil actions and customs we see in the world. (Micah 7:8) God truly is love. (1 John 4:8), and love never fails. (1 Cor 13:8)

You may have personal way of deriving the love of god from the Bible and I'm glad you can do that.

When I read the Bible I don't see that at all. I see a book that is full of tribalism, revenge by god and men, cruelty by god and men, a celebration of human slavery, devaluation of women, and a primitive punishment/reward system of ethics that does nothing to empower people to be self governing.

Obviously there are Christians who are self governed, but I can't find a reason for that from the Bible if you read it literally. You have to really do a lot of semantic manipulation to keep out the cruelty and violence.

People will see what they want to see. The Religion Of Humanism dictates the values and opinions you have espoused here. But there is much more in the Bible than what this Religion allows you to see. When you look at the Bible through The Skinner's Box Religion of Humanism, you will take the same pot shots at Christianity as have thousands of others before you. Only one problem - nothing you have said makes your opinion of the Bible true
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....Communism is form of government that happens to have atheists that derive the reason for it from another source than the Bible. Originally the form of government derived from the teachings of Jesus was communism.

This is easily demonstrated by the life of Jesus. He owned no property and told people to sell everything they had and give to the poor. If that isn't redistribution of wealth I don't know what is. Plus the early church pooled their property and wealth and gave to everyone according to their need. That seems to be the basics of communism to me.

What you're describing-- love for one's fellowmen-- is certainly a Christian ideal and one that Christ taught. No doubt about that. In fact, that is the reason many Christians join things like the anti-war movements. Even though I no longer practiced Christianity and wasn't in the church, I joined the anti-war movement and the Socialist Workers Party (actually I joined their youth league, the Young Socialist Alliance), because of my Christian ideals.

But those ideals have nothing to do with communist idealogy or practice. In fact, communists and revolutionary socialists merely take advantage of and use such idealism. In his private correspondence, Marx shows nothing but disdain for such Christian ideals and for those who hold them. Christian socialists-- Democratic socialists-- would be the first to be killed in any communist revolution, just as they were in the Russian Revolution.

So what you are describing as "communism" out of book of Acts has nothing to do with communism as it is understood by the communists and Marxists. The view of it in Acts is opposed to violence, because it is based on Christ's teachings, whereas Marxists-Leninists believe violent revolution is absolutely necessary. Communism won't ever exist without overthrowing the previous systems. Communism doesn't come about merely because people love each other. That's unrealistic and Marx knew it and therefore ridiculed such an idea and had no use for people who thought that way.

Here's Marx on religion, atheism and communism, from the Third Manuscript of the Economic & Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844:

Quote:
But since for socialist man the whole of what is called world history is nothing more than the creation of man through human labor, and the development of nature for man, he therefore has palpable and incontrovertible proof of his self-mediated birth, of his process of emergence. Since the essentiality [Wesenhaftigkeit] of man and nature, a man as the existence of nature for man and nature as the existence of man for man, has become practically and sensuously perceptible, the question of an alien being, being above nature and man -- a question which implies an admission of the unreality of nature and of man -- has become impossible in practice.

Atheism, which is a denial of this unreality, no longer has any meaning, for atheism is a negation of God, through which negation it asserts the existence of man. But socialism as such no longer needs such mediation. Its starting point is the theoretically and practically sensuous consciousness of man and of nature as essential beings. It is the positive self-consciousness of man, no longer mediated through the abolition of religion, just as real life is positive reality no longer mediated through the abolition of private property, through communism. Communism is the act of positing as the negation of the negation, and is therefore a real phase, necessary for the next period of historical development, in the emancipation and recovery of mankind. Communism is the necessary form and the dynamic principle of the immediate future, but communism is not as such the goal of human development -- the form of human society.

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Originally Posted By: cardw
....Communism is form of government that happens to have atheists that derive the reason for it from another source than the Bible. Originally the form of government derived from the teachings of Jesus was communism.

This is easily demonstrated by the life of Jesus. He owned no property and told people to sell everything they had and give to the poor. If that isn't redistribution of wealth I don't know what is. Plus the early church pooled their property and wealth and gave to everyone according to their need. That seems to be the basics of communism to me.

What you're describing-- love for one's fellowmen-- is certainly a Christian ideal and one that Christ taught. No doubt about that.

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It has been secular democracy that has provided the freedoms we know today. We know that anytime a religion or ideology gets control of the government totalitarianism emerges.
You must be talking about what Condoleza Rice once called "the spread of democracy..." Funny how there are always so many machine guns in areas where this is happening...
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What you're describing-- love for one's fellowmen-- is certainly a Christian ideal and one that Christ taught. No doubt about that.

Originally Posted By: cardw
Where did I say it wasn't?

I'm agreeing with you that it is a Christian ideal or a teaching of Christ. I'm not suggesting that you said it wasn't.

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(quoting Marx): But since for socialist man the whole of what is called world history is nothing more than the creation of man through human labor, and the development of nature for man, he therefore has palpable and incontrovertible proof of his self-mediated birth, of his process of emergence. Since the essentiality [Wesenhaftigkeit] of man and nature, a man as the existence of nature for man and nature as the existence of man for man, has become practically and sensuously perceptible, the question of an alien being, being above nature and man -- a question which implies an admission of the unreality of nature and of man -- has become impossible in practice.

Originally Posted By: cardw
This is actually insightful. It is impossible to practice the reality of a god you can't see or provide evidence for. This creates the absurd prayers for winning games of football and contemplations of god saving and not saving people's lives. I have observed this contradiction of reality in many religious settings.

OK, but Marx got this "insight" from Ludwig Feuerbach. What Marx is actually saying is that belief in God must be gotten rid of, and for the reason he gives here.

In The Essence of Christianity, Feuerbach had said, "In the consciousness of the infinite, the conscious subject has for his object the infinity of his own nature."

But why is the idea that God saves people and helps them "absurd"?

Once we accept the existence of God who made the world, there is nothing absurd in believing that this God loves people.

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Originally Posted By: cardw
It has been secular democracy that has provided the freedoms we know today. We know that anytime a religion or ideology gets control of the government totalitarianism emerges.
You must be talking about what Condoleza Rice once called "the spread of democracy..." Funny how there are always so many machine guns in areas where this is happening...

I agree with you. Remember she was supporting the policies of a President who claimed he was following god's plan.

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quote=Overaged]
Originally Posted By: cardw
It has been secular democracy that has provided the freedoms we know today. We know that anytime a religion or ideology gets control of the government totalitarianism emerges.
You must be talking about what Condoleza Rice once called "the spread of democracy..." Funny how there are always so many machine guns in areas where this is happening... /quote]

I agree with you. Remember she was supporting the policies of a President who claimed he was following god's plan.

But this is part of your problem - using the example of a president like this to illustrate "christianity."
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Quote:
But why is the idea that God saves people and helps them "absurd"? Once we accept the existence of God who made the world, there is nothing absurd in believing that this God loves people.

John, that idea would be much less absurd if it was not presented in a form of nighty-night fairy tale. If it (Christian dogma) was real, then it would be self-evident. I don't think we would debate that there's a president of united states who has a job of doing certain things.

Why do you think people debate whether there is a God... i.e. what you've said in your statement. God is presented in form of an IDEA ... OR BELIEF. I don't have to ask you to believe that there's a president. I think I'd have to ask you to believe that there is none. That would be harder.

Yet, I don't see how you find it unreasonable that people don't find reasons to believe that there is a God, and that God is a God described in the Bible. Today, there's no visible manifestation of that God that would parallel the president of the US, for example.

Now, you can give me reasons why God may choose to be hidden other than the few questionable stories that are read with "praise the lord" exclamation in the end...

But why do you find it so unreasonable that people would choose to be honest and to say "I don't know..." ?

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