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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2012 :  19:03:08  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My local humanist group just had a joint meeting with a local Presbyterian Church. One of the church's pastors came to some of our meetings and then approached us with the idea that our communities could meet maybe every 4 months for a moderated meeting for the purpose NOT of debating, but rather, to better understand each other's perspective. This is done with the idea that we live in a pluralistic society and if we better understand each other we can more effectively live in peace with each other and perhaps find many points of common ground where we could even work together to improve our world.

The way the first meeting was structured was that we sat in a circle, Pastor Jay presented the perspective of what he called "Historical, Redemptive Christianity", and I presented the perspective of the modern secular, humanist philosophy. The idea was to make it all fairly general but interesting and accessible to a general audience. Here's the video of those talks. Pastor Jay speaks first and then I come in at about 21 minutes. These talks were followed by a Q&A which was moderated by a third person.

Would love any thoughts, constructive criticism or compliments about either the event or how I represented the secular humanist perspective.

Thanks.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2012 :  19:22:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I should mention that I quote Kil right toward the beginning of my talk.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13458 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2012 :  21:57:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good talk! It's just one of many, right? Secularism is not just a doctrine that rejects religion an embraces science, but calls on society to reject religious considerations when forming policy, whether they are religious or not. In that way it's much more inclusive than, say, forming policy based on one religious view over another.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2012 :  00:05:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My terrible wireless Internet connection, along with a storm, has made it impossible for me to watch anything more than about the first two minutes of the video.

If, as appears to be the case here, both sides in such discussions sit down and talk with the understanding that both sides are part of the larger entity of society and thus have reason to look for commonality, then this kind of meeting is a great idea. Even if the only lesson anyone learns is that at least some Christians are neither completely bonkers nor are they praying for the death of infidels, and that freethinkers are not the knowing slaves of Satan, then some progress has been made toward a better mutual society.

I suspect, however, that the Christianity represented by Calvary Presbyterian Church is the kind of mainstream faith that is being eroded of followers by the increase of both freethinking and radical fundamentalism.

What you are doing is very good, but what needs even more urgently to be done is probably impossible, as the growing Religious Right is unlikely to sit down in honest and friendly discussion with those very people they weekly curse as Satan's slaves and as the cause of the decline of society.

Of course, I have no brilliant ideas for dealing with the RR, aside from fact-mongering, mockery, etc.

Keep up the good work!

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2012 :  19:14:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Due to my less than perfect internet connection I too have been unable to download the whole thing yet but I will. After several attempts I've gotten less than half. I'll have to wait until my connection is more forthcoming. I am intrigued by the idea of multiple exchanges or meetings but from what tiny bit I have viewed I suspect I will be eager to "sit in" on more than this first meeting. I expect to comment further after I have viewed it in whole.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2012 :  23:49:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Weather here has improved, as Skeptical Typhoon Mawar continues to depart the tropics. So I'm finally able to view the video.

(First, and this is non-ideological and irrelevant to your discussion with the religious: Please put your camera on a tripod or monopod! The movement of the camera is constant and unpredictable enough to cause a distracting distress similar to motion sickness, at least for me. The unintended cinéma vérité effect does not help.)

The pastor's presentation uses one charming analogy, that of the Harry Potter characters arguing over the existence or non-existence of JK Rowling. Yet cute as that was, and delightful to visualize, I can't see it as having any effect of strengthening Christian apologetic. Overall, the pastor is polite and sets a reasonable tone, so kudos to him for that. What he's actually saying about his religious beliefs, though, amounts to pretty much the same things most fundamentalists say, though with more emphasis upon god's carrot than upon his stick. The pastor seems to even say "death" less audibly than he pronounces its Christian-dogma opposite.

I'd almost say he is evangelizing to a choir of demons, except that really, he's merely summarizing his beliefs as a necessary foundation for discussions to come -- all of which is quite appropriate. Both sides need to know who they're talking to.

My summary of your part of the discussion, Marf, will be brief, but only because you did your part so well. You stated both the areas of diversity and agreement among secular Humanists very well. Bringing in the role of skepticism and especially scientific skepticism was was good, too. Take-away quote: "I'm comfortable with doubt and uncertainty."

Now that the "introductions" have been completed, the really interesting discussion should follow!

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Convinced
Skeptic Friend

USA
384 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2012 :  13:35:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Convinced a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like this idea after watching the video, I learned something about secular humanism from your talk. I think it can get rid of some stereotypes we have. Although, I do think that christians and secular humanists live in peace with each other. How are you going to ensure this does not devolve into a debate?


Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph 5:15-17)
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2012 :  22:57:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Actually, Convinced, I think there's room for, and probably a need for, some polite debate in the mix. Possible, I think, with these people all seeming to be of good will.

Both sides have real problems with the other's positions, after all. Sweeping those under the carpet would not help to achieve understanding. No real consensus would be possible without a little gentle friction being encountered in getting there. A debate doesn't have to be, and shouldn't be, a knock-down, drag-out fight in this situation where both sides seem to be seeking commonalities.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 06/04/2012 22:58:33
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ThorGoLucky
Snuggle Wolf

USA
1451 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2012 :  12:36:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Regarding God as an author, the author could write that the characters actually do know and perceive the author. In fiction, you can make up whatever you want, including god(s).


Edited by - ThorGoLucky on 06/08/2012 12:48:31
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9666 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2012 :  13:35:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It was a good speech Marf. I imagine myself being eloquent while I'm sitting behind a keyboard, but I wouldn't do as good as you did in front of such an audience.


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9666 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2012 :  13:44:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Convinced

I like this idea after watching the video, I learned something about secular humanism from your talk.
I'm sure you did.

Whatever pastors, ministers, and other preachers say is usually taken as gospel* by the members of their congregations, and what they say is also usually far removed from reality as we know it. So also when they describe non-believers like agnostics and atheists.
I've heard a lot of fucking unbelievable untruths from the mouths of voices of authority in the church. If you were told by them what a secular humanist is, I'm pretty sure some of it were lies.


I think it can get rid of some stereotypes we have.
Question is, do you (as a group of Christians) really want to?


* Pun intended.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 06/09/2012 01:51:04
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2012 :  22:11:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One of the criticisms I've heard (and frankly share) of moderate Christian churches and congregations is that most of them remain silent in the face of the outrageous preaching and actions of hate of their fundamentalist coreligionists. I'd like to see the pastor asked if he feels that his church has a responsibility to address the abuses of those fundamentalists. After all, when one says "I am a Christian" these days, those who hear that tend to assume the person is a fundamentalist.

Hypothetically, if I knew of a band of people who called themselves "Humanists," but actually spent most of their energy killing dogs, cats and wildlife, I would be appalled and consider it my responsibility to 1) Let people know by word and example what "real" Humanism is, and 2) Stop those idiots from hurting animals.

I'd ask the pastor: Don't moderate Christians have an analogous duty, regarding the fundamentalist hate churches? Does shared faith with the fundies give moderate Christians an advantage in trying to dissuade the fundies from some of their more evil rhetoric and acts? Certainly we secular humanists find it almost impossible to civilly sit down with fundies. The fundies don't want to be seen talking like adults with us, because they prefer that their congregations think of us as Satan-possessed Muslim-Communists.

I don't personally see how the moderates can sit down with the extremists with any hope of progress, but maybe pastor has better ideas than I do. And if they can't, can they at least publicly condemn the haters' actions?

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2012 :  05:44:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good talk, Marf, hope this project works out well.

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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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2012 :  13:57:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My complements and best wishes to Marfknox and everyone involved with this endeavor. I state now I know I could never be an asset attending such a function, unless I kept my mouth shut or not attend. I understand what both sides are hoping to achieve and like the idea. I wish all parties success in overcoming the inherent difficulties. Your shared community will surely benefit from any success with this.

I felt like Pastor Jay was giving a sermon as though he was trying to lead an atheist group to God. I lost count how many times he used selected Bible citations to back his words, comments, or make a point. For him to come to an Agnostic/Atheist group then rely on and repeatedly quote the Bible completely ignores what I thought he was there trying to do. I might be wrong but I interpret his talk as evangelizing. As most of us believe here, the Bible has no value to Theists etc., when being use to make any point because of how FLAWED it can be shown to be, with all it's inconsistencies, demonstrable fallacies and numerous contradictions. Pastor Jay cannot rightly cherry pick from the Bible to serve his points because of how flawed it is, I see that as being intellectually dishonest. We all know how the Bible can be quoted to support any premise or belief. The Bible renders itself useless within it's own pages when taken at face value or when used to support a stance. Cherry picked citations by anyone can be used to justify any argument. E.G. Slavery and murder have both been justified and condemned with quotes from the bible.

On Marf's talk, Very good! Kudos to you for being on topic with respect to the stated goal of the meeting, which I feel Jay did not do. It is expected based on your reliance on rational thought, while Jay's was not. It addressed what Humanist and Secular are pretty much about. Jay's talk (IMO) was on how to think of and understand God.

My WTF moment.
God is to us, like J.K. Rowling is to Harry Potter and other people she created??? What ???? Rowling never had her characters enslaving and raping little girls after butchering their fathers and mothers or pillaging and murdering people in mass under her active direction. If she did she would deserve neither praise or respect from her victims, as God demands from his in exchange for eternal life. I would love to hear Jay's opinion of what he would think of Rowling, if her book was written with that as her storyline and as her God in it. That's the storyline Jays' God wrote as I read it. That God which he prays to is one sick puppy, I'm so glad to see it's not true and therefore his God is not a real concern when it comes to my reality. Along with his other feared made up monster "Satan".

It's been my experience over time and I now believe it's impossible to have a real Rational Conversation with people who insist on holding irrational and non evidence based beliefs and bring those beliefs into a rational conversation. Whenever that happens rationality leaves the room, if it ever entered and the intended rational conversation is over.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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Convinced
Skeptic Friend

USA
384 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2012 :  11:05:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Convinced a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Originally posted by Convinced

I like this idea after watching the video, I learned something about secular humanism from your talk.
I'm sure you did.

Whatever pastors, ministers, and other preachers say is usually taken as gospel* by the members of their congregations, and what they say is also usually far removed from reality as we know it. So also when they describe non-believers like agnostics and atheists.
I've heard a lot of fucking unbelievable untruths from the mouths of voices of authority in the church. If you were told by them what a secular humanist is, I'm pretty sure some of it were lies.
The subject does not come up that often. We usually preach and teach on what the Bible says at church. We rarely debate humanism or atheism. It goes both ways though. I have had alot of atheists who are uninformed or lie about what the bible teaches.


I think it can get rid of some stereotypes we have.
Question is, do you (as a group of Christians) really want to?


* Pun intended.
Yes

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph 5:15-17)
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Convinced
Skeptic Friend

USA
384 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2012 :  11:36:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Convinced a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

One of the criticisms I've heard (and frankly share) of moderate Christian churches and congregations is that most of them remain silent in the face of the outrageous preaching and actions of hate of their fundamentalist coreligionists. I'd like to see the pastor asked if he feels that his church has a responsibility to address the abuses of those fundamentalists. After all, when one says "I am a Christian" these days, those who hear that tend to assume the person is a fundamentalist.

Hypothetically, if I knew of a band of people who called themselves "Humanists," but actually spent most of their energy killing dogs, cats and wildlife, I would be appalled and consider it my responsibility to 1) Let people know by word and example what "real" Humanism is, and 2) Stop those idiots from hurting animals.

I'd ask the pastor: Don't moderate Christians have an analogous duty, regarding the fundamentalist hate churches? Does shared faith with the fundies give moderate Christians an advantage in trying to dissuade the fundies from some of their more evil rhetoric and acts? Certainly we secular humanists find it almost impossible to civilly sit down with fundies. The fundies don't want to be seen talking like adults with us, because they prefer that their congregations think of us as Satan-possessed Muslim-Communists.

I don't personally see how the moderates can sit down with the extremists with any hope of progress, but maybe pastor has better ideas than I do. And if they can't, can they at least publicly condemn the haters' actions?


I think you are not being very fair here. There are preachers every week out there that condemn certain violent or extreme actions. There are websites like sharper iron that promote fundamentalism as it was intended through discussion and example. Christian conservatives like John MacArthur, John Piper, Phil Johnson, Paul washer to prosperity preachers like Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Paula White to emergent/liberal Christians like Rob Bell, Tony Campolo, NT Wright have all publically condemned acts of violence against others.

Can you give us some advice on what more we can do?

Christians condemning child abuse.

Pope condemning religious violence

Christians condemning burning Koran

Christians condemning abortion doctor killing in 1998 From article:

Randy Tate, executive director of the antiabortion Christian Coalition, joined in the condemnation, calling it a "reprehensible act of violence."


Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph 5:15-17)
Edited by - Convinced on 06/11/2012 11:36:43
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