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#25349 - 04/08/08 08:23 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
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Rev,
You sound like the guy who referred to smiley faces as fairy dust. How can you possibly deny the existence of fairy dust? You see smiley faces! Right?

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#25351 - 04/09/08 03:32 AM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Warren Offline
Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 45
Loc: Paducah, Kentucky
Haven't been posting lately, but perusal of the very literate and informed comments on this topic was inspiration to join in.

Been an atheist in the past, and depending on definition of theism might still be considered that by some fundamentalist-types at least, but consider myself a unitheist.

Was raised Methodist, then Presbyterian, then could no longer recite the Apostle's Creed, so made myself scarce (Dad's still an active lay minister and slightly worried about me).

While not a supernaturalist I see a non-being-like ultimate reality in the world, in my spirit, and in the minds of others.

What is not explainable by natural means might be called crypto-natural (natural but not yet understood) rather than supernatural. Mary Baker Eddy was a crytonaturalist but didn't use that term to describe herself.

Been busy trying to work through issues of meaning, purpose, etc. mostly at the unitheist fellowship site, which BTW Rev. King wrote a good article for, "What is Unitheism?" (a little lite horn-tooting, hope you don't mind RLK smile

I'm still reading, learning, and pondering though, as well as writing.

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#25352 - 04/09/08 06:02 AM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Warren]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Rev-- When the little bird discovered that he breathed in air someone was then able to prove to the curious little fellow that he was breathing in a mixture of measurable gases. Whilst I am not sure how the chirpy little creature felt about that at least his answer was a totally satisfying proven scientific fact, as opposed to love being god- because I said so- that's why.

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#25353 - 04/09/08 04:44 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Ellis]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Welcome, Warren and fellow unitheist! We haven't chatted in some time. I do check out your site now and then:
http://www.unitheist.org/

BTW, While I was in Florida a few weeks ago I heard the news about the wind, rain and flooding in the Paducah, Ohio-valley area. How was it in your area?
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#25354 - 04/09/08 06:08 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Revlgking]
Warren Offline
Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 45
Loc: Paducah, Kentucky
Glad you're still checking out the site, Rev.

I like to think of it as an alternative for those who while can't believe in a being-type God believe in something more than what science has heretofore discovered, and/or are interested in questions beyond the realm of science-- life purpose, etc.

We just grapple with those issues as much or more than claim to answer them.

We had flooding in the area but Paducah did not have to start putting in floodgates-- my house is on high ground smile

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#25356 - 04/09/08 07:14 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Ellis]
big fat pig Offline
Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 97
Quote:
BFPig--Rather an odd name, eh?--: You speak of being tolerant of people who believe in, "...odd things, having weird fears etc etc..." Is this your impression of me: One who believes in odd things and is filled with weird fears? Tell me: What are some of my odd ideas and weird fears?


rev i don't know what your fears and beliefs are, but what i had in mind was the religious/superstitious beliefs & fears; ie, afraid of going to hell, afraid of death, believe that there is some kind of ultimate justice etc etc... these are odd/weird beliefs/fears in my mind.

and my name; chosen as a joke and as a trap for judgmental folk; insult my name and label yourself a judgmental pig lol
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#25361 - 04/10/08 11:41 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: big fat pig]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
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BFP. You inquire as to what are my fears. If life is eternally meaningful, what is there to fear? May I ask: What are yours?

As for me, I prefer to pay attention to that which I believe to be true. In the words of Longfellow, the poet: Life is real, life is earnest, and our death is not the goal; Dust thou art and dust returnest was not written of the soul.

I have faith, hope and love that life, no matter what, is eternal.

I am interested in knowing: What is the "faith" of atheists?
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#25368 - 04/11/08 05:24 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Revlgking]
big fat pig Offline
Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 97
i don't believe that life is eternal. i really wouldn't want to live forever either. life is meaningless on a cosmic scale. fears? i cant think of any.

i have a question; do you remember what it was like before being born; i mean; before you came into existance? how did it feel?

"what is the faith of atheists" i assume that you're asking me...

i don't know, i'm not an atheist, nor am i religious. i prefer to ignore those battle grounds; call it rational ignorance; a waste of attention.
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#25369 - 04/11/08 06:46 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: big fat pig]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
BFP asks
Quote:
i have a question; do you remember what it was like before being born; i mean; before you came into existance? how did it feel?
Some people, like my daughter, do have this ability. I can only imagine it.

You say, "... i'm not an atheist, nor am i religious. i prefer to ignore those battle grounds; call it rational ignorance; a waste of attention."

I do not mean this as a put-down, but to me you seem to have chosen as your life's role simply to be a clever animal. smile I hope you are well-trained, kind and have a master who loves you laugh

BTW, I accept the possibility that there is re-incarnation and that animals and things do go on into the eternal now, which we call the future. For me, there is only NOW. Future and past are illusions.

I also accept all sincerely held beliefs.

I think of G0D--all goodness, order and design--as the "essential self" within and beyond me--the collective consciousness. I can think of this "ES" as being like Seth Lloyd's quantum computer with which I can carry on an on-going conversation and seek guidance for life.
I am amazed, daily, at the practical and helpful results I get.

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#25371 - 04/11/08 08:16 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Revlgking]
big fat pig Offline
Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 97
"I do not mean this as a put-down, but to me you seem to have chosen as your life's role simply to be a clever animal. \:\) I hope you are well-trained, kind and have a master who loves you \:D"

hahaha i see that you have chosen the same life-role @ clever animal

i used to have the same opinions about god as you do; i was raised in a Christian family and became disenchanted as i learned about science and history. though i call myself an agnostic when religious/potentially religious folk ask... in reality im just a clever animal haha


i wont argue about religion. when you challenge someone's beliefs they become hostile, if it's unnecessary don't do it.
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#25374 - 04/11/08 09:58 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: big fat pig]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
BFP, as a human being, I have the power to chose never to be hostile. I can chose to have a civilized dialogue about religion. It is much more fun than having an argument about it.

You say that you are not religious and that you are an agnostic.

What does this mean?

To me, it sounds that you are much more than just a clever animal.

I AM RELIGIOUS
==============
When I say, "I am religious" here is what I mean to say: I mean that I am a human being. As such I have the power to choose to be a moral, ethical and loving person, under all circumstances. I am not just an animal, trapped in my instincts, or even a clever animal, governed by my training.


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#25375 - 04/11/08 10:32 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Revlgking]
big fat pig Offline
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Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 97
i tell people that im agnostic to avoid discrimination/judgment, although that hasn't been the case recently; i've started answering these questions with questions.

if someone is going to call themselves Christian or Hindi or Muslim or put any kind of religious label on themselves, you'd expect them to follow their teachings; yet that is rarely the case. are you a religious leader? well keep your followers in check and realize that fanatics repel newcomers rather than attract them.
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#25376 - 04/12/08 03:38 AM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: big fat pig]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Incidentally, there are many things that we, as human beings, do not know. Therefore, to this extent we are all agnostic. What I try to avoid is being a cynical and apathetic agnostic--one who says, "I don't know; don't want to know, and I don't care for those who do or don't."

Am I a religious leader? you ask.

Born in 1930, I retired from the pastoral ministry in 1994. My work was not just with church members. It involved community building and social work. I never demanded that people be devout Christians before they were offered help.

Now that I have retired, because I prefer to wear out and not just rust out, I do volunteer work in a non-sectarian charity--The Family Life Foundation, which I helped found in 1973, while I was still an active pastoral minister.

BTW, the FLF just took on a new program. It has to do with helping a young-adult couple, both of whom are enthusiastic people who are recovered addicts. They connect with troubled youth in schools and on the street and offer help. There are a lot of hurting people out there.
The FLF is connected with http://www.pathwayschurch.ca It is non-sectarian. Check out the online forum.


Edited by Revlgking (04/12/08 03:42 AM)

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#25377 - 04/12/08 04:36 AM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Revlgking]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Rev asks--What is the "faith" of atheists?

Atheists have no "faith"- which I take to mean no belief in the love of god, the all-encompassing presence, the manifestation of the divine or indeed the strict adherence to dogma required in some religions. Atheists do not believe that there is a divine entity of any sort, however spelled.

I know you find this hard to comprehend Rev. You have asked this question before. I will repeat-- an atheist has no "faith".

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#25379 - 04/12/08 04:30 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Ellis]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Ellis, while I welcome, even enjoy, your "butting in" smile --it shows that you have a lively interest in dialogue--my recent dialogue is with BFP.

Because BFP is new to this thread my questions were to him, to get his thinking on things. For example, I found out that he is an agnostic.

Meanwhile, thanks for expanding your thoughts on atheism. While we are at it, let me ask a few questions.

You say,
Quote:
Atheists have no "faith"

I ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IN THE SPIRIT OF DIALOGUE AND WITH RESPECT:

NO faith? Ellis, is this your personal dogma (teaching), your certainty?
Or, is there a pope of atheism who speaks for all atheists?
Is there only one denomination of atheism?
If atheist have no "faith" does this mean that they are certain of all things?
Do all atheists believe that human beings are simply clever animals?
Are we simply one of the accidents of evolution?
Do you feel it is possible for atheists, theists, unitheists, deists, agnostics, whatever to live in a kind of harmony?

Or do you take the position of Dawkins and Hitchins that all religion is evil and needs to eradicated?

Since atheists have NO faith, what is their dogma regarding good and evil, and life beyond the death of the body?

I am sure there are altruistic atheists, but if death is the end of all life, what would motivate an atheist to give his life to save the lives of others? I recently saw a movie, based on facts, about a man--an explosives expert who diffused a bomb on a train full of explosives. Following prayers, he risked his life to save the community.

BTW, over the years I have had at least three near-death experiences--one in Labrador (a storm on a lake)--which involved saving the lives of others.

Anyone. Feel free to butt in. laugh


Edited by Revlgking (04/12/08 04:38 PM)

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#25380 - 04/12/08 04:34 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Ellis]
big fat pig Offline
Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 97
everyone rejects the integrity of some faith system(must i name some?), so likewise; to an extent; everyone is an atheist.

it seems that you're unhappy with the fact that i choose to ignore the playing grounds of atheism and theism. please understand that i've 'been there' im not a stranger to your ideology. i feel that arguing on matters on the basis of speculation, culture, social upbringing which neither understands is a waste of attention.
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#25381 - 04/12/08 04:49 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: big fat pig]
big fat pig Offline
Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 97
"Since atheists have NO faith, what is their dogma regarding good and evil, and life beyond the death of the body?"

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. [Albert Einstein]"

"what would motivate an atheist to give his life to save the lives of others?"

love, altruism, understanding, logic...
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#25384 - 04/12/08 08:26 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: big fat pig]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Originally Posted By: big fat pig

..."what would motivate an atheist to give his life to save the lives of others?"

love, altruism, understanding, logic...

LOVE IS THE CENTRAL THEME OF THE GOSPELS
=========================================
In I John 4:8 we read, "GOD IS LOVE."
The same theme is repeated in Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34 and Luke 10: 25-28. This is followed by the parable of the Good Samaritan, the theme of which indicates that this Love is a universal kind of Love, not a parochial one. I am glad to see that at least one atheist agrees. Or is it agnostic?

Keep in mind: The Gospels commend people for their actions, not just what they say they believe--deeds are the real worth, not just creeds.


Edited by Revlgking (04/12/08 08:29 PM)

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#25385 - 04/12/08 09:55 PM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: Revlgking]
RicS Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 310
Loc: Sydney, Australia
G'day,

I find this discussion fascinating. I don't quite see how being an atheist means a person has no faith. Since there is a great deal of systems for the universe that are not understood, to accept any system as possible or likely is to exercise faith.

I always thought the definition of an atheist is that they did not believe that there was a powerful conscious entity that somehow controlled their lives or the lives of man in general.

I thought Agnostic meant that the person considers that it is possible that there is a powerful conscious entity but that, if that entity did exist, it is so removed from their day-to-day life, that it was not relevant to them at all.

I am an atheist, I think. Nevertheless, I also have a strong sense of faith. I think that man is basically good rather than evil. That is a tenant of faith since it is not provable; at least to me it is not. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, King Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, etc managed to cause the deaths of tens of thousands to tens of millions of people and so logically evil seems to have the upper hand. Yet, it seems that such evil is on a grand scale.

Most primates use violence to keep the clan in line. The Banobo uses sex but this seems to be the exception. Gorillas can be quite violent and even commit murder. Chimpanzees seem to be extremely violent and murder, including infanticide is very common. Yet humans in tribal units seem to be much less violent. I read a study that suggested the "bully" impulse has slowly been removed from humans by the simple expedient of the females of human troops getting together and killing bullies.

It is only when you have interaction between different tribes that bloodshed seems to be more common and even then, it seems that various mechanisms have been developed to reduce the actual harm caused in such encounters.

There appears to be a genetic imperative to protect other humans. Firstly, there is a very strong imperative to protect one's offsprings, followed closely by those of your community. However, that does not really explain those that risk their lives sometimes to save enemies. A man that runs into a burning glider to rescue trapped soldiers of the opposite army suggests something else is at work here rather than just the protection of those we know.

I do not wish to big note myself at all but have rescued others in my life, very often total strangers, and sometimes people who were very unpleasant and had been abusive. Any fire fighter can provide similar stories. As a police officer called out to tragedies and the first attenders to fires, road accidents and such, rescuing others was just part of the job. You might argue that as an atheist the imperative there was that I needed to demonstrate to my fellow officers that I would do my duty however often I was alone.

I have met many people in my life who state clearly they are atheists yet take huge risks for themselves to attempt to save others in peril.

Some religious people argue that they are not atheists then but I believe that is a cop out. A way of saying that if you don't agree with me then you just are not being honest.

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. [Albert Einstein]"

With that I agree completely but there is nothing to say that people are good because they either fear punishment or hope for a reward. That argument could be used for those that believe in a vengeful God along the lines of Allah or the Old Testament God. These people may only be being good because of the fear of their God. What an appalling reason for doing good works.

The reason I believe that people are basically good? I suffer terribly from a medical condition. My wife remains by my side regardless of the terrible conditions she must cope with. Strangers have gone out of their way to assist me when I have come to harm, their concern, clearly etched on their faces only for the wellbeing of others, not for some abstract notion of doing good to score brownie points with some deity. And finally, to the occasions when I do good, whether it be something very minor or something life altering. It makes me feel better, good even. Why? Not because I've read the Bible. I worry terribly about any literal interpretation of that book. It includes such appalling commands as to kill a child who is disobedient. Not because I've read the Koran. It directs the devout that they can never be friends with a Jew or a Christian and that's one of the tamer sections. Or other religious texts. Buddhism is often touted as the religion that preaches tolerance etc but by the concept of reincarnation it obliges people to be good or the consequences can be you will come back as a snail (I exaggerate to make the point).

It seems that humans separated themselves from the rest of the animal kingdom when they became self-aware. This seems to have happened about 70,000 years ago. At that time, there was no Allah, Jehovah, God, or whatever. If we say it is only from this point that humans became real humans it still means that religion such as the Christian religion has been around for only a tiny fraction of the time of humans. I've always been fascinated in the religious persons' perspective of what happens to those that just did not have a God to pray to, let alone Ten Commandments, the Songs of the Koran or whatever. These people would often have done extremely good works. We know that humans cared for other humans often for years even though they were not productive members of their society. There are skeletons of humans that would have been incapable of caring for themselves for as many as seven years before their deaths. There are a great many skeletons that show periods of two years or so. For a people that were lucky to live to 35 and where life was extremely harsh, such aid and comfort would only have been possible at great personal discomfort and suffering. Do these people not deserve a place in Heaven because they simply didn't know about it?

As far as I know, I have never helped anyone for personal reward. On the very rare occasion, my actions were recognised all it caused was acute embarrassment. Funnily enough, such feting of "good works" did not make me feel good at all. As an atheist that sort of suggests that I did not take the action because I feared punishment or a hope for reward.

As someone that is suffering a debilitating condition that has destroyed my ability to be employed, caused the loss of my house, meant that I cannot help my children or even play with them, I still haven't change to believe I automatically deserve special treatment. I will fight to receive benefits that my Government says is owing to those with disabilities and for their children but have never for a second thought to contact anyone that I may have helped in the past to ask for a handout. A couple of people that I did assist are actually very wealthy and so I guess I could have approached them. After all, what's a few hundred thousand to someone who has many millions? But I just don't have the ability to make such an approach. I don't even know why. I do know I would feel bad if I did such a thing and once a person on a site that dealt with medical problems which I was moderating sent me money to help out a problem I had. She was a very wealthy person and yet it caused acute embarrassment and it was only that the woman became very offended when I tried to return the money accusing me of denying her the right to help my family who she had grown to greatly care about over the years of our posts that I accepted the offer. I still feel guilt about it believe it or not.

From all of that I could suggest that an Atheist does not necessarily do something for fear of punishment or the desire for reward. I've been told by others in similar situations to me who do not have any religious faith that they have had similar feelings.

Therefore, my FAITH, as an atheist is that people are capable of great good, to those that are not family or even part of their community. That is not to say that people are not capable of great evil. The amount of rapes that occur in our so call-civilised society suggests that there is a lot wrong with a great many people.

As my life winds down towards its conclusion, all I can conclude is that love conquers all and: "In the end only kindness matters."

With Love to all that Believe in Kindness


Regards

Richard
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#25386 - 04/13/08 01:18 AM Re: To all Atheists: [Re: RicS]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Apparently this is an exclusive topic and I am redundant!

BFG- Good points! Fear is NOT a good foundation for a humane belief system.

And Richard, nice arguments. This is very true:-

"...... my FAITH, as an atheist is that people are capable of great good, to those that are not family or even part of their community."

I think kindness is often found where and when we least expect it. We experience the goodness in people much more often than the evil. As you imply, it helps if you assume people prefer to be nice,( in fact it actually makes them happy, few prefer to be mean). I really enjoyed that post. You and your wife are examples of what I was trying to say about kindness, support and love..

Now I'd better go away before Rev catches me posting!




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