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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26004 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2004 :  08:53:57  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Over in this thread, Doomar wrote:
quote:
I've deleted my comments on atheism as that is not what this thread was about. That debate is for another room.
So, I'll continue that subject here, with bits and pieces of my posts (slightly edited for clarity) from the other thread:

quote:
Originally posted by Doomar

That is not to say that individuals do not do unselfish acts, but that those acts are contrary to atheism and very much a part of "religion".
The idea that religion is the birthplace of altruism is falsified by the examples of altruism found amongst animals.
quote:
And therein is the atheist torn, believing there is no God or afterlife, yet doing an unselfish deed, contrary to the beliefs of atheism, in that, charitable deeds are part of religious practice and/or Christian teaching. Wanting the "good" parts of godliness, yet denying the God who promotes them.
A false dilemma, as I do unselfish deeds without thought as to what any "god" might think of them.

Besides which, for Christians, there exist precisely zero unselfish deeds, since everything done for the benefit of someone else and at one's own detriment brings one closer to God. Hypocrite. Every "charitable" act you commit is actually a selfish act in disguise. Persecution is a blessing, and martyrdom a masturbatory fantasy. The larger the "altruistic" act, the more selfish it is.
quote:
Also, I think I need to note that according to Biblical teaching, man is inherintly evil and continually sinning against God and bound in that nature, therefore, whenever he does a kind deed or acts unselfishly it is by the grace of God, enabling him to do so, inspite of his nature to the contrary, and as an atheist, one takes credit for any good one does without even acknowledging a higher power, which, again, is vanity within the person.
And none of that makes a compelling argument for an atheist, who fails to believe that such a God exists.

From another post:
quote:
Herein is some of the problem. I have no problem with rightly evaluating any situation, but by what guideline? You claim no guidebook.
No, I claim that your guidebook is self-contradictory and impossible to follow. I acknowledge many guidelines for correctly evaluating many situations, and different situations require different guidelines. To make a book of them would require many more pages than in a single Bible.
quote:
What's wrong with a guidebook? Do we just throw out the wisdom of the ages so we can say we didn't do it "blindly" obeying some book? That makes no sense.
That's why I don't make that claim.
quote:
I happen to agree with the book you so easily discard.
I happen to agree with parts of it, and discard others. What guideline is offered by the story of the Jews wandering the desert? Or Jesus' temptation? Your guidebook has a large amount of irrelevancy.
quote:
Your arguments for proof of these judgments and miraculous happenings are based on disbelief and not scientific finding to the contrary.
No, the Bible makes the claim that there was, for example, a world-wide flood. It is up to those agreeing with that claim to provide the evidence for it. No evidence of one can be found.
quote:
Evidence of Sodom and Ghomorrah and surrounding area burned and obliterated is not hard to find.
Then please, share it with us. Of course, just finding a town burned isn't evidence that God rained down fire and sulfur. Nor is it evidence that angels struck a mob blind, or that Lot's wife turned to salt. The Bible makes those claims. The supporters of the Bible have the responsibility to demonstrate them true.
quote:
Evidence contradicting it is.
Indeed, evidence contradicting the idea that I have an invisible dragon in my garage is also very hard to find. Proving a negative tends to be very difficult.
quote:
Discounting millions of eye witnesses in the Exodus seems to be easy for you, but not me.
Millions of eye witnesses? Did they all write books? So far as I know, only a single person has written an account of the Exodus. If you know differently, please share with us your evidence.
quote:
Discounting the intelligent design of creation is easy for you, but not for me.
Again, it is necessary for such intelligent design to be demonstrated before I will accept it as fact. You, apparently, have less-strict standards of evidence.
quote:
There are million of examples that make it impossible for me to conclude otherwise.
Name twenty.
quote:
But personal experience is the trump card. How can I discard or explain away personal evidence of God's goodness and mercy in my life and that of close friends or aquaintences?
I don't know. How can you also explain the lack of personal evidence of God's goodness and mercy in my own life, and in that of my friends and acquaintences (most of whom are Christians themselves, and I wasn't always an atheist)?
quote:
Maybe some are able to do that. I have not been successful.
I wouldn't know, as I haven't had any such personal experiences to discard.

In another post:
quote:
I'd love to, as soon as the atheists in the crowd come forward and fill us all in.
Thank you for admitting that your previous posts about what atheism means, or what the goals of atheists are, were simply prejudiced screeds based upon ignorance.
quote:
My source was limited, of course, to a single proclaimed atheist site and its political goals.
What site was that?
quote:
I would be happy to hear from any avowed atheist as to what their "morals" or "values" are and how they came by them.
Your previous posts suggested that you knew this subject with authority. It turns out you lied. Why the hell should anyone try to clue you in, when you're not trustworthy with the information?
quote:
It is my suspicion that each atheist does what is "good" in his own eyes according to his (or her) own assessment without the help of a single source.
It's your suspicion that what I told you, directly, is true? How odd.
quote:
I would note that "honesty" or "integrity" of belief is noted as a virtue to many I have spoken with, yet freedom to judge and condemn any who hold contrary views about God also seems to be a virture or right to them.
Just as Christians commonly judge and condemn any who hold contrary views about God. Protestants fighting Catholics. Blood running throughout the Middle East for centuries.
quote:
Thus, a different type of bigotry and intolerance is displayed, not commonly understood as such as theirs has "no religion" behind it.
Since when does bigotry require religion? The idea that atheists claim to be able to avoid prejudice or intolerance is false. Of course, one significant point is that no atheist has ever started a war in order to spread atheism or conquer the atheist "holy land" (haha!).
quote:
It is the bigotry of anti-god or anti-religion that causes many atheists, perhaps not all, to engage in "slamming" of non atheist folk with belittling slurs.
Making the atheist no better than Christian, but that would only matter if the atheist claimed impartiality.
quote:
If you are an atheist that abhors that sort of thing, I'd like to meet you.
Actually, I think the SFN has a good track record of avoiding slamming religious people just because they're religious.

And, I know of several Christians who are tolerant and not bigoted against atheism. Doomar, you are not one of them. So you might consider getting off your high horse before preaching tolerance and respect.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2004 :  10:38:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
quote:
And therein is the atheist torn, believing there is no God or afterlife, yet doing an unselfish deed, contrary to the beliefs of atheism, in that, charitable deeds are part of religious practice and/or Christian teaching. Wanting the "good" parts of godliness, yet denying the God who promotes them.


I've resisted jumping into the debate, but I'll do so now in this new thread (wise idea, Dave) by addressing this above point made by Doomar.

What's clear in Doomar's concept of good is that it must come from his (ostensibly Christian) god. For him, when non-Christians (or perhaps just non-theists, or non-mainstream thesits) do something good or unselfish they are acting religious. His problem, then, is that atheists fail to recognize Yahweh (or whomever) when doing such things.

But is this right? Surely not. Indeed, for this to be correct, he'd have to imagine that before the god Yahweh made himself known to Noah or Abraham, no one ever helped or aided anyone else ever. But of course this is foolish. Numerous ancient languages-- languages which predate the Biblical patriarchs (assuming that they were real people)-- have words which convey the meaning of "help" and "aid." Textual examples show how people do things to aid others without personal interest-- indeed, even against personal interest.

And of course, in modern times non-Christians help others all the time without expecting (or even wanting) payment. There are returns on this. For instance, the other day I helped a short older women get a grocery item that was on a high shelf and afterwards I admit I felt "good" about my actions. It could be argued that I only acted in such a way because I knew I'd enjoy the "good" feeling I'd get afterwards. But that's a stretch.

No, it's clear that plenty of atheists (and other non-Christians) do good selfless things for reasons that have nothing to do with a god (or, dare I say it, the promise of eternal life in paradise?). Is it social pressure? Are we "hard-wired" for doing such things? I don't know. But I'm confident that I owe no supernatural being recognician for my actions...
Edited by - Cuneiformist on 12/28/2004 11:01:08
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2004 :  11:38:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
Id like to make it clear to doomar and others that Atheism is not an organization, it has no goals, requires no dues or books to purchase. There is no club or membership card.

Some monotheists want to bring down christianity.
So I can conclude that all christians want to bring down christianity becase they are monotheists.

Please dont group me with Wiccans and I wont group you with Osama Bin Laden, deal?

While you see your christian god/bible as the personification of good, many including myself see it as an evil so vile that even its teachers are unaware of it.

"Karl I have a feeling we've been lied to." <--inside joke

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
Edited by - BigPapaSmurf on 12/28/2004 11:39:29
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26004 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2004 :  12:21:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by BigPapaSmurf

Id like to make it clear to doomar and others that Atheism is not an organization, it has no goals, requires no dues or books to purchase.
It doesn't even have a capital A, except at the beginning of a sentence.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Wendy
SFN Regular

USA
614 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2004 :  12:38:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Wendy a Yahoo! Message Send Wendy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Doomar
That is not to say that individuals do not do unselfish acts, but that those acts are contrary to atheism and very much a part of "religion".


It is my belief that unselfish acts by atheists, Christians, or any person labeled in any other manner are virtually non-existent. We all have our own motivation for doing things. We may do good to feel good about ourselves, to set a good example for our children, or to help a friend or loved one. We may do good to help make the world we live in a better place. It is the nature of all creatures to be selfish, and though the word conjures a negative image it is (IMO) a natural, honest thing, not a bad thing.

I reread the "other" thread, and it seems my outraged post there is what got things off-track. For that, my apologies to all, including Doomar. I do hope he will take the opportunity to post in this thread so that we all may understand each other a little better.

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon.
-- Susan Ertz
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2004 :  12:41:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

quote:
Originally posted by BigPapaSmurf

Id like to make it clear to doomar and others that Atheism is not an organization, it has no goals, requires no dues or books to purchase.
It doesn't even have a capital A, except at the beginning of a sentence.


It's a huge part of the problem that theists-- particularly the Christian fundies-- are so wont to lump all atheists together as though it were a religion. I do not their tired claim that atheism is a religion is made whimsically. The thinking is if those that follow God have more or less set rules and beliefs, then so must those who don't follow Him.

It's actually a difficult concept to explain (perhaps someone here could do a better job), actually. For, just as a person regardless of race, sex, career, education, etc. be an atheist, so can they be a Christian. And just as some atheists are militant, indifferent, active, arrogant, quiet, etc., so are Christians. So it's easy to see how one might be tempted to find an analogy between Christian belief and atheist non-belief. Thus, if Christians act and think in more or less uniform ways regarding particular things (i.e. doing good deeds) so must atheists. And this is where the analogy breaks down! Christians need to figure this out for the discussion to move forward.
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2004 :  12:47:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Seems to me that materialism is moral, and superstitious ideas like Jehovah and Hercules are inherently immoral. That is if morality means that you care about reality.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2004 :  14:20:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
No, it's clear that plenty of atheists (and other non-Christians) do good selfless things for reasons that have nothing to do with a god (or, dare I say it, the promise of eternal life in paradise?). Is it social pressure? Are we "hard-wired" for doing such things? I don't know. But I'm confident that I owe no supernatural being recognician for my actions...



Ditto.

Anyone who thinks that "good" can only be done by the will of some deity is an idiot.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26004 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2005 :  12:08:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Well, at this late date, I cannot help myself from considering the possibility that Doomar suggested the start of a new thread on this subject just so he could ignore it.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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ConsequentAtheist
SFN Regular

641 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2005 :  13:11:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ConsequentAtheist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wendy


It is my belief that unselfish acts by atheists, Christians, or any person labeled in any other manner are virtually non-existent.
I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people, when faced with the likes of the Asian catastrophe or a neighbor in need, experience an honest empathy and impulse to help. That you do not is truly sad.

For the philosophical naturalist, the rejection of supernaturalism is a case of "death by a thousand cuts." -- Barbara Forrest, Ph.D.
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2005 :  13:38:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

Well, at this late date, I cannot help myself from considering the possibility that Doomar suggested the start of a new thread on this subject just so he could ignore it.



I kind of figured that is what he was up to as he used the cry of "don't hijack my thread" messages when the concepts

1) addressed the OP
2) contained evidence and commentary which he could not respond to or refute.

He all but telegraphed it. Unfortunately, some forum posters actually gave Doomar the benefit of the doubt that he might deign to answer the tough questions in the new thread.

This bodes ill for Doomar's credibility.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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Wendy
SFN Regular

USA
614 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2005 :  13:40:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Wendy a Yahoo! Message Send Wendy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ConsequentAtheist

I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people, when faced with the likes of the Asian catastrophe or a neighbor in need, experience an honest empathy and impulse to help. That you do not is truly sad.


What is sad in my opinion, ConsequentAtheist, is that you were so eager to post scathing criticism of someone you apparently did not take the time to either read or to comprehend my entire post.

I was a Red Cross volunteer for almost five years. Did I get paid? Not a dime. Did I get something out of it? Absolutely. I felt good about the work I did. I got a sense of accomplishment. I got to meet many, many wonderful people. That is not selfless.

I donated to the victims of this recent tragedy without hesitation. Why? Because I like being the kind of person who wants to help, and because I'd like to think that if something terrible happened in my area people would want to help my community. That is not selfless.

As I said in my previous post:
quote:
It is the nature of all creatures to be selfish, and though the word conjures a negative image it is (IMO) a natural, honest thing, not a bad thing.


If, having read that, you still find my position sad, I could not possibly care less.

Edited to include the member name of the person being addressed in this post.

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon.
-- Susan Ertz
Edited by - Wendy on 01/04/2005 14:27:55
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2005 :  14:16:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
From the caustic pen of Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary:

CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

I dreamed I stood upon a hill, and, lo!
The godly multitudes walked to and fro
Beneath, in Sabbath garments fitly clad,
With pious mien, appropriately sad,
While all the church bells made a solemn din --
A fire-alarm to those who lived in sin.
Then saw I gazing thoughtfully below,
With tranquil face, upon that holy show
A tall, spare figure in a robe of white,
Whose eyes diffused a melancholy light.
"God keep you, strange," I exclaimed. "You are
No doubt (your habit shows it) from afar;
And yet I entertain the hope that you,
Like these good people, are a Christian too."
He raised his eyes and with a look so stern
It made me with a thousand blushes burn
Replied — his manner with disdain was spiced:
"What! I a Christian? No, indeed! I'm Christ."
--G.J.

Doesn't have much to do with the topic, or does it....?


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Edited by - filthy on 01/04/2005 14:17:24
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ConsequentAtheist
SFN Regular

641 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2005 :  15:03:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ConsequentAtheist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wendy

quote:
Originally posted by ConsequentAtheist

I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people, when faced with the likes of the Asian catastrophe or a neighbor in need, experience an honest empathy and impulse to help. That you do not is truly sad.


What is sad in my opinion, ConsequentAtheist, is that you were so eager to post scathing criticism of someone you apparently did not take the time to either read or to comprehend my entire post.
Scathing criticism? Do you disagree with my first statement.

quote:
Originally posted by Wendy

I was a Red Cross volunteer for almost five years. Did I get paid? Not a dime. Did I get something out of it? Absolutely.
Whether you 'got something out of it' is wholly irrelevant. Again, do you disagree that "the overwhelming majority of people, when faced with the likes of the Asian catastrophe or a neighbor in need, experience an honest empathy and impulse to help"?

quote:
Originally posted by Wendy

As I said in my previous post:
quote:
It is the nature of all creatures to be selfish, and though the word conjures a negative image it is (IMO) a natural, honest thing, not a bad thing.


If, having read that, you still find my position sad, I could not possibly care less.
Whether it is in "the nature of all creatures to be selfish" is equally irrelevant. At issue is whether or not it is likewise in our nature to act on empathy and respond with altruism and kindness. I'll bet you've exhibited these traits more than once and are, in fact, less 'sad' than your position would entail.

For the philosophical naturalist, the rejection of supernaturalism is a case of "death by a thousand cuts." -- Barbara Forrest, Ph.D.
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Wendy
SFN Regular

USA
614 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2005 :  16:55:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Wendy a Yahoo! Message Send Wendy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ConsequentAtheist

Scathing criticism?

Yes, that is what I wrote.
quote:
Originally posted by ConsequentAtheist

Do you disagree with my first statement.

If by your first statement you mean:
quote:
Originally posted by ConsequentAtheist

I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people, when faced with the likes of the Asian catastrophe or a neighbor in need, experience an honest empathy and impulse to help.


Not only do I not disagree with it, had you read my post thoroughly before posting your reply you would see that I support it. My point was that these acts are not unselfish. Would people help if doing so required them to compromise their own well-being or that of their families? Some would, but the majority would not. Most of us do good things because, one way or another, it makes us feel good.
quote:
Originally posted by ConsequentAtheist
Whether you 'got something out of it' is wholly irrelevant.
Not only is it relevant, it was the point of my contribution to the thread. What is irrelevant is the direction you are taking us in now. If you actually want to discuss this further, start a "Wendy's Position is Sad" thread and we'll go at it there. I can't imagine that will be of interest to anyone but you, as it has been your only contribution to this discussion.

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon.
-- Susan Ertz
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2005 :  20:06:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Wendy:
Would people help if doing so required them to compromise their own well-being or that of their families? Some would, but the majority would not. Most of us do good things because, one way or another, it makes us feel good.


I dunno. I ran, yelling, right toward two men who were knifing a guy in the street. If they had decided to turn and start on me instead of running, I would have been in serious trouble. Thing is, I didn't think about what I did. I just did it. Someone was in trouble and I reacted. I had no time to think about my family or me. In fact, maybe if I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done what I did. I don't consider myself a hero. A fool maybe, but not a hero. I would like to think that if someone saw me being stabbed by a couple of gang guys, that person would have the same reaction I had.

My point? My reaction to seeing what I saw was to help a person in trouble. I didn't have time to weigh how I would feel about myself if I did a good thing. And I would like to think that most of us have that inside of us wherever that sort of thing is kept and for whatever reason we have it.

Come to think of it, since I didn't think about it, I might have even run out there if it had been Ayn Rand in trouble. Even if Ms. Rand would have never returned the favor without seeing it as a selfish act…

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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