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Author Topic:   Atheists: Time to Come Out of the Closet!
Percy
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Posts: 22604
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.9


(1)
Message 1 of 174 (912852)
10-03-2023 3:00 PM


An opinion piece in today's Washington Post: America doesn’t need more God. It needs more atheists.
This particular piece isn't behind a paywall. Anyone can access it. It is a *long* read, but well worth it.
I don't think the atheists here need the provided advice, namely to be clear and open about your atheism, but I can't take this advice because I'm not an atheist. The article says to ask yourself, "Do I think a supernatural being is in charge of the universe?" If the answer is "no" then you're an atheist. For me the answer is "yes."
I qualify the question in my mind a bit. I believe someone or something is in charge of the universe. It isn't a requirement for me that this someone or something be supernatural. I still think that means I'm not an atheist. Is this someone or something God? I guess it is in my mind, because that's the name I use.
But I am aligned with all atheists because I don't believe any of the world's religions have the slightest inkling about the nature of God. Certainly everything in all the world's religious books is myth, though with plenty of useful observations and lessons about human nature and the nature of the world, and with some useful history sometimes mixed in.
I've probably said this before, but all you people who turn away the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses who come to your door, fear not. Invite them in and engage them in conversation. They're on a schedule and will only stay 15 or 20 minutes. The exchange of ideas in person is invigorating and much different than interactions online.
Whenever it comes up whether I believe in God, which it occasionally does, I always answer yes, and if the circumstances are appropriate I add that I don't belong to any of the world's religions, that I have my own beliefs that are still vague and unformed. If I'm feeling especially bold I might add that I don't think I really know anything about the nature of God.
This answer always seems to satisfy everyone, or at least no one speaks up, though admittedly I live in a part of the country that tends liberal. Such an answer might not go unremarked in the Bible Belt.
For those who choose not to read the article, here are a few choice excerpts:
Washington Post:
My (non)belief derives naturally from a few basic observations:
  1. The Greek myths are obviously stories. The Norse myths are obviously stories. L. Ron Hubbard obviously made that stuff up. Extrapolate.
  2. The holy books underpinning some of the bigger theistic religions are riddled with “facts” now disproved by science and “morality” now disavowed by modern adherents. Extrapolate.
  3. Life is confusing and death is scary. Naturally, humans want to believe that someone capable is in charge and that we continue to live after we die. But wanting doesn’t make it so.
  4. Child rape. War. Etc.
...
One of the boys asked what a “myth” was, and I told them it was a story about how the world works. People used to believe that these gods were in charge of what happened on Earth, and these stories helped explain things they didn’t understand, like winter or stars or thunder. “See” — I flipped ahead and found a picture — “Zeus has a thunderbolt.”
“They don’t believe them anymore?” No, I said. That’s why they call it “myth.” When people still believe it, they call it “religion.” Like the stories about God and Moses that we read at Passover or the ones about Jesus and Christmas.
...
My children know how to distinguish fact from fiction — which is harder for children raised religious. They don’t assume conventional wisdom is true and they do expect arguments to be based on evidence. Which means they have the skills to be engaged, informed and savvy citizens.
...
Lies, lying and disinformation suffuse mainstream politics as never before. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 29 percent of Americans believe that President Biden was not legitimately elected, a total composed of those who think there is solid evidence of fraud (22 percent) and those who think there isn’t (7 percent). I don’t know which is worse: believing there to be evidence of fraud when even the Trump campaign can’t find any or asserting the election was stolen even though you know there’s no proof.
...
We need Americans who demand — as atheists do — that truth claims be tethered to fact. We need Americans who understand — as atheists do — that the future of the world is in our hands. And in this particular political moment, we need Americans to stand up to Christian nationalists who are using their growing political and judicial power to take away our rights. Atheists can do that.
...
But you also don’t get to leave things up to God. Atheists must accept that people are allowing — we are allowing — women to die in childbirth, children to go hungry, men to buy guns that can slaughter dozens of people in minutes. Atheists believe people organized the world as it is now, and only people can make it better.
...
That’s right: Atheists take more political action — donating to campaigns, protesting, attending meetings, working for politicians — than any other “religious” group. And we vote. In his study on this data, sociologist Evan Stewart noted that atheists were about 30 percent more likely to vote than religiously affiliated respondents.
...
And when religion loses a fight and progress wins instead? Religion then claims it’s not subject to the resulting laws. “Religious belief” is — more and more, at the state and federal levels — a way to sidestep advances the country makes in civil rights, human rights and public health.
In 45 states and D.C., parents can get religious exemptions from laws that require schoolchildren to be vaccinated. Seven states allow pharmacists to refuse to fill contraceptive prescriptions because of their religious beliefs. Every business with a federal contract has to comply with federal nondiscrimination rules — unless it’s a religious organization. Every employer that provides health insurance has to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate — unless it’s, say, a craft supply store with Christian owners.
Case by case, law by law, our country’s commitment to the first right enumerated in our Bill of Rights — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” — is faltering. The Supreme Court has ruled that the citizens of Maine have to pay for parochial school, that a high school football coach should be free to lead a prayer on the 50-yard line, that a potential wedding website designer can reject potential same-sex clients. This past summer, Oklahoma approved the nation’s first publicly funded religious school. This fall, Texas began allowing schools to employ clergy members in place of guidance counselors.
...
But atheists can do one thing about the country’s drift into theocracy that our religious neighbors won’t: We can tell people we don’t believe in God. The more people who do that, the more we normalize atheism in America, the easier it will be — for both politicians and the general public — to usher religion back out of our laws.
...
And the next time you find yourself tempted to pretend that you believe in God? Tell the truth instead.
--Percy

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Phat, posted 10-04-2023 1:18 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied
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 Message 28 by dwise1, posted 10-13-2023 1:39 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied

  
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 174 (912854)
10-04-2023 11:17 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Atheists: Time to Come Out of the Closet! thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 18384
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003


(2)
Message 3 of 174 (912860)
10-04-2023 1:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
10-03-2023 3:00 PM


Opening Salvo
Percy writes:
An opinion piece in today's Washington Post: America doesn’t need more God. It needs more atheists.
I qualify the question in my mind a bit. I believe someone or something is in charge of the universe. It isn't a requirement for me that this someone or something be supernatural. I still think that means I'm not an atheist. Is this someone or something God? I guess it is in my mind because that's the name I use.
If it's all in your mind, that actually strengthens the argument for atheism. (If GOD, God,gods and/or Jesus) were simply in our minds, we all would be atheists. What makes you a believer, Percy, is that the concept is clear in your heart though vague in your mind. I am the opposite. I am scared to be vulnerable.
Percy writes:
But I am aligned with all atheists because I don't believe any of the world's religions have the slightest inkling about the nature of God. Certainly, everything in all the world's religious books is myth, though with plenty of useful observations and lessons about human nature and the nature of the world, and with some useful history sometimes mixed in.
Fair enough. I used to mark (None Of The Above) when I was unsure of an answer on a test too. I can agree that no one has a better handle on the nature of God than does anyone else. I would concur that by definition, God is either supernatural or an extension of our own worldviews(an internal creation) I prefer to believe in the former.
Percy writes:
Whenever it comes up whether I believe in God, which it occasionally does, I always answer yes, and if the circumstances are appropriate I add that I don't belong to any of the world's religions, that I have my own beliefs that are still vague and unformed. If I'm feeling especially bold I might add that I don't think I really know anything about the nature of God.
Everyone around here tells me that I make Him up since I dont follow the script foretold in "The Book".
I used to be more like candle2, never straying from the script...until I looked around and saw little enlightenment among church members in that area.
Such an answer might not go unremarked in the Bible Belt.
The problem with the Bible Belt is that it buckles under pressure! (pun intended)
But atheists can do one thing about the country’s drift into theocracy that our religious neighbors won’t: We can tell people we don’t believe in God. The more people who do that, the more we normalize atheism in America, the easier it will be — for both politicians and the general public — to usher religion back out of our laws.
It was always foreknown to happen and is the path that society must follow, in order to be honest with ourselves. It will also insure that we collectively have no excuse for the result of our actions.
...
Percy:
And the next time you find yourself tempted to pretend that you believe in God? Tell the truth instead.
I am (that He is!)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Percy, posted 10-03-2023 3:00 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 8593
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.5


(2)
Message 4 of 174 (912864)
10-04-2023 2:30 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
10-03-2023 3:00 PM


Atheist Я Us
quote:
Where atheism becomes a definite stance rather than a lack of direction, a positive belief and not just a negative one, is in our understanding that, without a higher power, we need human power to change the world.

You don’t have to be an atheist to conduct yourself as if people are responsible for the world they live in — you just have to act like an atheist, by taking matters into your own hands.
Never heard of Kate Cohan. I like her.
Anyone reticent about taking that last step into the real world and openly declaring their atheism, please reach out. I, and others here, can help fend off the last of your lingering demons.
I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness. -- Ecclesiastes 7:25
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. -- Matthew 7:7
So, clear your thoughts of fantasy. Reality awaits discovery in the unencumbered mind. – AZPaul3 10:4

Stop Tzar Vladimir the Condemned!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Percy, posted 10-03-2023 3:00 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Phat, posted 10-06-2023 2:55 PM AZPaul3 has replied

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 18384
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003


Message 5 of 174 (912926)
10-06-2023 2:55 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by AZPaul3
10-04-2023 2:30 PM


Re: Atheist Я Us
AZAnti writes:
Anyone reticent about taking that last step into the real world and openly declaring their atheism, please reach out. I, and others here, can help fend off the last of your lingering demons.
Why on earth would I wish to declare my atheism? To me, it is a badge of willful ignorance. I do agree with Ms. Cohan, however, that people are in fact responsible. I also might bring up (again) that both you and I know that humans are failing to address Climate Change and are fiddling while Rome burns. Demon or not, that fact is unsettling.

Before Percy chimes in and labels me confused or vague, allow me to explain.
  • Liberally Progressively minded people are more likely to be atheists than conservatives are. Conservatives are charged with being too authoritarian and heartless, yet in order to save the planet, the progressives will almost certainly have to seize the power to do the job that the conservatives won't. This means that the new boss will be as open to criticism (by being authoritarian) as the old Conservative bosses were. And atheists will get the blame. Am I delusional?

  • This message is a reply to:
     Message 4 by AZPaul3, posted 10-04-2023 2:30 PM AZPaul3 has replied

    Replies to this message:
     Message 6 by Tangle, posted 10-06-2023 4:49 PM Phat has seen this message but not replied
     Message 7 by Theodoric, posted 10-06-2023 5:32 PM Phat has replied
     Message 8 by AZPaul3, posted 10-06-2023 9:09 PM Phat has seen this message but not replied
     Message 9 by Percy, posted 10-07-2023 9:29 AM Phat has replied

      
    Tangle
    Member
    Posts: 9530
    From: UK
    Joined: 10-07-2011
    Member Rating: 4.9


    Message 6 of 174 (912928)
    10-06-2023 4:49 PM
    Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
    10-06-2023 2:55 PM


    Re: Atheist Я Us
    Phat writes:
    Why on earth would I wish to declare my atheism?
    ffs Phat, it's an instruction aimed at atheists.

    Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London. Olen Suomi Soy Barcelona. I am Ukraine.

    "Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
    - Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


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     Message 5 by Phat, posted 10-06-2023 2:55 PM Phat has seen this message but not replied

      
    Theodoric
    Member
    Posts: 9272
    From: Northwest, WI, USA
    Joined: 08-15-2005
    Member Rating: 2.8


    Message 7 of 174 (912929)
    10-06-2023 5:32 PM
    Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
    10-06-2023 2:55 PM


    Re: Atheist Я Us
    Why do you have to make everything about you? This was not directed toward theists. Calm down and crawl away.

    What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

    Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

    "God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

    If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 5 by Phat, posted 10-06-2023 2:55 PM Phat has replied

    Replies to this message:
     Message 30 by Phat, posted 10-13-2023 2:38 PM Theodoric has replied

      
    AZPaul3
    Member
    Posts: 8593
    From: Phoenix
    Joined: 11-06-2006
    Member Rating: 4.5


    Message 8 of 174 (912933)
    10-06-2023 9:09 PM
    Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
    10-06-2023 2:55 PM


    Re: Atheist Я Us
    Why on earth would I wish to declare my atheism?
    I appreciate your enthusiasm, however …
    You still have religious scales on your eyes. You’re not ready to cross the Hitchens Bridge.
    However … Since I have your attention …
    … I want to address this:
    Conservatives are charged with being too authoritarian and heartless, yet in order to save the planet, the progressives will almost certainly have to seize the power to do the job that the conservatives won't. This means that the new boss will be as open to criticism (by being authoritarian) as the old Conservative bosses were. And atheists will get the blame. Am I delusional?
    If you think any puny self-centered humans, regardless of political stripe, will affect what has already been pre-loaded into the climate-disaster pipeline then, yes, you are delusional.
    I know Tangle chafes (second time I’ve used that word today. Interesting.) at all the gloom and doom I spew so I’ll spare him the usual details on the weather disruptions, crop disruptions, food disruptions, political disruptions … and, well, we’re fuckin doomed.
    That last book in your bible is going to become prophetic after all, just not in your favor. Watch as each seal is broken by the gross collective stupidity of man. But in this case each seal takes centuries to manifest. Many say, Phat, that the first seal has already fractured. Repent or not. Humanity is doomed.
    But, to bring this subject back to base, wouldn’t you, Phat, like to spend the rest of your days a free soul? Unencumbered by fantasy? No longer dependent on an evil ghost for your life’s purpose and identity? Think, man, don’t just feel. There is still room at the table for you, Phatman.

    Stop Tzar Vladimir the Condemned!

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 5 by Phat, posted 10-06-2023 2:55 PM Phat has seen this message but not replied

      
    Percy
    Member
    Posts: 22604
    From: New Hampshire
    Joined: 12-23-2000
    Member Rating: 4.9


    (3)
    Message 9 of 174 (912945)
    10-07-2023 9:29 AM
    Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
    10-06-2023 2:55 PM


    Re: Atheist Я Us
    Phat writes:
    ...yet in order to save the planet, the progressives will almost certainly have to seize the power to do the job that the conservatives won't.
    I guess the progressives will seize power using the guns and civilian militias that they don't have.
    Concerning climate change, one possibility is that the conservatives will have little problem consolidating and increasing their control over the country by advocating increasingly authoritarian solutions to the worsening problems created by climate change while ignoring the actual root causes of climate change, like the fossil fuels that contribute 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of carbon dioxide emissions.
    --Percy

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 5 by Phat, posted 10-06-2023 2:55 PM Phat has replied

    Replies to this message:
     Message 10 by Phat, posted 10-07-2023 1:57 PM Percy has replied

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 18384
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003


    Message 10 of 174 (912973)
    10-07-2023 1:57 PM
    Reply to: Message 9 by Percy
    10-07-2023 9:29 AM


    Re: Atheist Я Us
    Percy writes:
    I guess the progressives will seize power using the guns and civilian militias that they don't have.
    No. they have different methods, such as increasing taxes for the good of everyone all the while throwing money at a war that cannot be won. (Ignoring using more money at home)
    Concerning climate change, one possibility is that the conservatives will have little problem consolidating and increasing their control over the country by advocating increasingly authoritarian solutions to the worsening problems created by climate change while ignoring the actual root causes of climate change, like the fossil fuels that contribute 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of carbon dioxide emissions.
    All I can say is that we made a big mistake in signaling to Saudi Arabia that the petrodollar days are over. That's the whole backing for our money since gold no longer is. You can't simply back money through the will of the majority. A lesson that atheists have yet to learn. Even BRICS is smarter than that. (Sorry Im drifting off-topic)
    Perhaps my belief, in general, is that Conservatives claim the moral high ground through hypocritical religion while progressives claim it through their platform of what's best for everyone. Will the two sides ever quit fighting? Only if they can agree on who or what should be in charge.

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 9 by Percy, posted 10-07-2023 9:29 AM Percy has replied

    Replies to this message:
     Message 11 by Percy, posted 10-07-2023 2:25 PM Phat has replied

      
    Percy
    Member
    Posts: 22604
    From: New Hampshire
    Joined: 12-23-2000
    Member Rating: 4.9


    (1)
    Message 11 of 174 (912976)
    10-07-2023 2:25 PM
    Reply to: Message 10 by Phat
    10-07-2023 1:57 PM


    Re: Atheist Я Us
    Phat writes:
    Percy writes:
    Phat in Message 5 writes:
    ...yet in order to save the planet, the progressives will almost certainly have to seize the power to do the job that the conservatives won't.
    I guess the progressives will seize power using the guns and civilian militias that they don't have.
    No. they have different methods, such as increasing taxes for the good of everyone all the while throwing money at a war that cannot be won. (Ignoring using more money at home)
    How does this make any sense?
    All I can say is that we made a big mistake in signaling to Saudi Arabia that the petrodollar days are over. That's the whole backing for our money since gold no longer is. You can't simply back money through the will of the majority. A lesson that atheists have yet to learn. Even BRICS is smarter than that. (Sorry I'm drifting off-topic)
    More like you've drifted off the planet.
    I didn't address your actual comments because this thread's about atheism. I was just calling attention to the absurdity of liberals "seizing power" given their antipathy toward firearms and vigilantism.
    ​--Percy

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 10 by Phat, posted 10-07-2023 1:57 PM Phat has replied

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     Message 12 by Phat, posted 10-07-2023 2:31 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 18384
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003


    Message 12 of 174 (912978)
    10-07-2023 2:31 PM
    Reply to: Message 11 by Percy
    10-07-2023 2:25 PM


    Re: Atheist Я Us
    Percy writes:
    I didn't address your actual comments because this thread's about atheism. I was just calling attention to the absurdity of liberals "seizing power" given their antipathy toward firearms and vigilantism.
    Perhaps a better term is "inheriting power" from discredited old white guys.
    The point im trying to make while attempting to shoehorn it into your Atheists Unite topic is that assuming humanism and human wisdom to be the only choice we have rubs me the wrong way. Granted I have yet to find raw evidence and data to refute the determined Ms. Cohan.

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 11 by Percy, posted 10-07-2023 2:25 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied

    Replies to this message:
     Message 13 by Theodoric, posted 10-07-2023 7:30 PM Phat has replied

      
    Theodoric
    Member
    Posts: 9272
    From: Northwest, WI, USA
    Joined: 08-15-2005
    Member Rating: 2.8


    (1)
    Message 13 of 174 (912988)
    10-07-2023 7:30 PM
    Reply to: Message 12 by Phat
    10-07-2023 2:31 PM


    Re: Atheist Я Us
    Maybe you should talk to your doctor about upping your meds. Not only are you off topic you are delusional, incoherent and showing an.uttwr lack of reason.
    Oh yeah that is normal for you.

    What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

    Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

    "God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

    If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 12 by Phat, posted 10-07-2023 2:31 PM Phat has replied

    Replies to this message:
     Message 14 by Phat, posted 10-08-2023 7:39 AM Theodoric has replied

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 18384
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003


    Message 14 of 174 (912996)
    10-08-2023 7:39 AM
    Reply to: Message 13 by Theodoric
    10-07-2023 7:30 PM


    Perhaps there are atheists in foxholes
    It's all about data, evidence, and meds with you, isn't it? To you, prayer is as useless as chanting mantras.
    Perhaps there are atheists in foxholes, but they are coping through meds, hard data, and reason. Yet the shells keep coming!

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 13 by Theodoric, posted 10-07-2023 7:30 PM Theodoric has replied

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    Percy
    Member
    Posts: 22604
    From: New Hampshire
    Joined: 12-23-2000
    Member Rating: 4.9


    (1)
    Message 15 of 174 (913003)
    10-08-2023 9:32 AM
    Reply to: Message 14 by Phat
    10-08-2023 7:39 AM


    Re: Perhaps there are atheists in foxholes
    Often incorrectly attributed to Lincoln or Twain, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."
    --Percy

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 14 by Phat, posted 10-08-2023 7:39 AM Phat has seen this message but not replied

      
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