“Very commendable. I agree that when confronted by religious zealots, we should put forth our arguments without sugarcoating them. But we also need to remember Shaw's advice...'Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty...besides, the pig likes it!'
My earlier point is if we come across a normal religious guy who pitching religion to us just out of genuine conviction and desire to 'save' us....don't feel compelled to use the sword of logic and reasoning to destroy his faith....Just thank him for his opinion & concern and politely decline”
“Can I say without sounding patronizing that it is easy for you and me to sit in our comfortable chairs and analyze the world objectively. But just for a moment think about a person who is poor, works 12-14 hour manual jobs to support his family, struggles with various problems arising out of poverty, lack of education, society and is fairly certain that he is not going to amount to very much. What motivation does he have to get up everyday and do the same thing again and again? Here religion/God/holy books offer him the comfort that he is going to get his just reward in afterlife. And he grabs this flimsy straw.
I agree that many religious people are extremists and I agree many of them do not even pursue spirituality. But even you would agree that only a small minority of religious people are zealots and extremists; admittedly most vocal. Rests of them are just trying to live one more day. And they think religion helps. So there is no point in us arguing with them that belief in religion/God, in the long run, is harmful. They need it. Will I stop drinking scotch every Friday night if somebody tells me its ill effect? Of course not. And I already know those ill effects. My point in all this rambling is…we should let believers be as long as they don’t try to force their opinions on us.
I apologize if my comment offended anybody”
Dan Jighter on Oct 4, 2012 at 18:55:40
“"But even you would agree that only a small minority of religious people are zealots and extremists"
Honestly, even devout religious liberals are frequently zealots who hold their religious commitments above everyone else, including evidence, reality, and sometimes the welfare of others. Even religious liberals believe a lot of things that are rather extreme. The belief that God exists is frankly extreme. The idea that there is an afterlife is very extreme and contrary to modern science, especially the Christian notion of heaven in contrast with other notions of the afterlife such as the Egyptian notions. No, I don't agree with this. I view all religion as zealous and extreme.
"They need it."
Um, I strongly doubt that. And you have yet to actually demonstrate that. At the very least a lot of people out there don't need religion. And honestly the manual laborer you described needs a better social safety net and more security more than he needs religion.
"we should let believers be as long as they don’t try to force their opinions on us."
But they are forcing their opinions on us. Even the religious liberals.”
Dan Jighter on Oct 4, 2012 at 18:54:53
“"But just for a moment think about a person who is poor, works 12-14 hour manual jobs to support his family, struggles with various problems arising out of poverty, lack of education, society and is fairly certain that he is not going to amount to very much. What motivation does he have to get up everyday and do the same thing again and again?"
I can think of nothing more patronizing that what you just wrote. Of you basically writing that you don't need religion but these other people who have it so hard supporting their family do. I think the people you described are not as weak as you are suggesting.
"Here religion/God/holy books offer him the comfort that he is going to get his just reward in afterlife."
So he is so weak that he needs a false comfort? He isn't getting a just reward in any afterlife.
"I agree that many religious people are extremists and I agree many of them do not even pursue spirituality."
Um, I don't think I said that. I said nothing of devout religious "extremists", I spoke of people who aren't remotely religiously devout. In fact, I said nothing about religious extremists at all. Why are you even talking about this and why are you using the term "agree" to refer to something I never said I myself agreed with?”
“"In fact, losing illusions and dreams is part of growing up and growing into being a better person"
Very true. I agree completely. But may I suggest that the person himself/herself need to make that effort to get rid of these illusions through honest inquiry for this to be truly effective? Why do we need to take it up on ourselves to make sure others must lose their illusions? Wouldn't that put us in the same bracket as religious zealots who insist everyone else must share their beliefs?”
Dan Jighter on Oct 4, 2012 at 18:35:34
“"Wouldn't that put us in the same bracket as religious zealots who insist everyone else must share their beliefs?"
To be honest, I think the religious zealots are right to insist that everyone else must share their beliefs. If you truly buy what the religious zealots believe, then those who don't share the beliefs are going to seriously suffer or cause others to suffer, there is a serious moral obligation to persuade others of their opinion. The problem with the religious zealots isn't their zealotry or insistence on others to share their beliefs, the problem is that what religious zealots believe is not supported by any evidence and is often contrary to the evidence. Besides, often the zealots at worse offend people and shout and preach their beliefs from street corners or some other place. Frankly I see nothing wrong with them freely and passionately expressing their beliefs and am glad to have the opportunity to consider their beliefs (and reject them as utter nonsense).
I honestly don't know why so many people like you think the problem with the religious zealots is that they publicly insist their beliefs are correct. And more importantly I don't get why people like you think that * I * think the problem with the religious zealots is that they publicly insist their beliefs are correct. I don't think that is the problem at all.”
Dan Jighter on Oct 4, 2012 at 18:35:22
“"But may I suggest that the person himself/herself need to make that effort to get rid of these illusions through honest inquiry for this to be truly effective? Why do we need to take it up on ourselves to make sure others must lose their illusions?"
Because inquiry is collaborative and communal, not individual. The results of a person's inquiry effect everyone. As you imply, those hanging on to illusions are engaging in dishonesty of some kind. If people are dishonest, we call them on it.
Moreover, if we engage in a public discourse over religion and freely express that we think some beliefs are illusions, then that does provide an opportunity for others to consider our opinions and potentially change their minds if they do desire. If nothing else, we certainly do need to take it upon ourselves to express our opinions so that others may consider them. To my knowledge no atheist has really gone as far as making sure anyone does anything, at most atheists have simply expressed their opinion in hopes of others considering their opinion.”
And to all Atheists/SBNR people….The cruelest thing to do to a person is to take away his/her illusions and dreams. Please understand the fact that there are people who need the comfort offered by religion to face another day in this world. If you try to take away this armor from them, you will experience a terrible backlash. So, by all means critique those aspects of faith and religion which are adversely affecting your life but do not try to take away faith from a religious person just assert your intellectual superiority”
dschiff on Oct 4, 2012 at 17:10:05
“People only need the crutch if you give them a crutch when they are a child - then they never learn to walk.
In societies where people are raised without being promised heaven and miraculous solutions, they get normal help: friends, family, therapy, medicine. And they are healthier and happier. See Norway or Sweden.”
jemkee on Oct 4, 2012 at 16:15:34
“Ummm, personally, I'm happier and more free without those illusions...but even more to the point, I don't go out and try to change people's minds about their religious beliefs, but I don't hide my own position, either. I've been victimized by proselytizers too many times to consider them anything but l0athsome salespeople, so if I run into one, I'm not going to listen to their sales pitch without stating my own position with equal vigor.
Otherwise, if someone asks, I tell them why I'm an atheist. If they don't, it doesn't come up.”
Dan Jighter on Oct 4, 2012 at 13:59:09
“"Please understand the fact that there are people who need the comfort offered by religion to face another day in this world."
Huh? Are you sure religion is than needed and comforting? I mean, for one thing you have a lot of people claiming to be "spiritual and not religious", not to mention a lot of people who claim to participate in a particular religion, and yet many of these people engage in no serious practice of spirituality or religion. They are obviously coerced by society to pretend to be religious in some fashion. But judging by their actions they don't need religion, they live comfortable, happy, moral lives without religion really helping them out. If there are these people who are frankly only religious or spiritual in name only and all these atheists like me you need to respond to, then it doesn't seem like religion is than necessary or comforting to a lot of people. It would seem rather a lot of people are religious because they are forced to be without needing it. And it would seem a lot of people do leave religion despite it's supposed comforts, sometimes after the reasoned arguments of atheists.
I think you are severely wrong here.”
Dan Jighter on Oct 4, 2012 at 13:58:53
“"The cruelest thing to do to a person is to take away his/her illusions and dreams."
Not always. In fact, losing illusions and dreams is part of growing up and growing into being a better person. Losing illusions and foolish dreams can be an opportunity to be really happy. To learn or experience something that is true, that might even be better than the fantasy. To at least learn or experience something more real than the fantasy.”
“"....it strikes me that often people who have some kind of relationship to a belief system, a value system of faith usually have a healthier attitude toward the autonomy of the individual than many others who profess to be progressive"
Do you think your readers are that stupid? All the fatwas, papal bulls etc against women, homosexuals, people with different faiths are issued by those who have 'some kind of relationship to a belief system'. Have you ever heard persecution of anybody by SBNR crowd?
"They have retained the superstitious outlook and yet do not want to engage or present anything more broadly life affirming"
SBNR people superstitious??? When, being a SBNR, you don't believe in religious mythology....you have nothing to be superstitious about. No belief in miracles; no belief in superstitions. And do not accuse of SBNR/Atheist people of not doing anything 'life affirming' when there are enough NGOs run by these people worldwide.
People like you think that they have THE KNOWLEDGE. And guess what? SBNRs thinks the same thing about themselves. Hubris, on both sides. But the difference is religious people like you force your beliefs on people different than you while SBNRs want to persuade others through logic, reasoning and science.”