The moment approaches: Atheist Woodstock just 12 hours away

posted at 10:12 pm on March 23, 2012 by Allahpundit

This thing might not win us any new friends. And it might not draw many people to the Mall. And it might not end up being covered much by the media. And the speakers just might prove so insufferably, smugly liberal that even atheists like me come away annoyed. But if it provides me with enough content for just one two late-night traffic-bait posts, my friends, then what we have here is what’s known as a success.

Seriously, though, I’m not sure the gay analogies are working out:

“The message is that if you can come out, you can out come out,” he says. “And if you can’t come out, at least you’ll know you’re not alone, and maybe sometime soon you’ll be able to come out of the closet to your family.”

Silverman says this is their moment, as important to atheists as the Stonewall riots were to the gay-rights movement four decades ago.

Dawkins makes the same point near the end of the clip below. Could be my NYC upbringing coloring my view but “coming out” as a nonbeliever has never seemed to me to be as wrenching as coming out as gay must be. Partly that’s because most atheists tend to come to it incrementally over time whereas for most gays it’s probably more of a rapid awakening when they’re young. Partly it’s because for families that aren’t especially religious, ultimately your parents don’t care much what your beliefs are whereas virtually all parents care about their kids marrying and having kids. And partly it’s because believers, in their moments of doubt, can relate to the skepticism of nonbelievers whereas a lot of straights (but not all) can’t relate on a visceral level to attraction to the same sex. But as I say, maybe this is NYC’s secular culture skewing my view. Could be that declaring yourself atheist in a devoutly religious community would be just as wrenching as declaring yourself gay.

Anyway. Your reward for enduring yet another lame “Reason Rally” post is this spicy data set from Gallup. Go ahead and gloat. You know you want to.


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JetBoy on March 24, 2012 at 7:59 AM

It’s really just about understanding the meaning of objective and subjective. SauerKraut is talking about subjective meaning – that is, what is true for one individual in his particular situation, while objective addresses what is true for all men at all times and all circumstances.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 7:54 AM

You might like this. Thinking through the line you just sketched, it seemed to me (one rainy day) that taking one’s own moral code and applying it to anything — let alone everything — outside of one’s own skin was not an atheistic act. To know one’s own sense of right and wrong were illusory, and that no context beyond one’s self where one’s existence “meant” anything existed — assuming the Universe is not intelligent — that the “little girl dying of cancer,” or suffering in general, or the natural history of this planet, galaxy, or cluster — to know all these things “mean” nothing in any larger context

– and to still insist on emotionally projecting one’s personal assignments of meaning to them anyway, irrespective of the rational or emotional origin of those assignments

– all this is not atheistic at all. It’s self-worship. A person doing this would be placing themselves into the same throne theists place God, being their own God (using a theist’s way of looking at things).

All that was skipping and so full of potential troll hooks it would pass for Velcro, but I figured I’d risk it since you seemed to be walking a path I’ve been on. :) I don’t really enjoy debating (read: arguing) this stuff anymore. To come full circle: “You might like this.”

Heh. Carry on. :)

Axe on March 24, 2012 at 8:20 AM

*God, being their own god

Axe on March 24, 2012 at 8:22 AM

I’m sure that both of the attendees will enjoy themselves.

kingsjester on March 24, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Atheists comparing their “struggle” to the gay rights movement now? Interesting little tidbit…

But hey, if these atheists want hold a rally for whatever, they have that right. And as Christians (those who are) the best we can do is pray for them. We can’t go and force feed the non-believers into believers, it comes from the heart.

JetBoy on March 24, 2012 at 7:53 AM

Indeed.

Just like Christians ought to pray for homosexuals.

Because both atheists & homosexuals are candidates for the transforming power of the Gospel.

itsnotaboutme on March 24, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Because both atheists & homosexuals are candidates for the transforming power of the Gospel.

The apostle Paul, in his first letter to the church in Corinth, chapter six, agrees:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

itsnotaboutme on March 24, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Right atheist have to stop hiding/

War on non believers? Point out where the liberal media doesn’t give atheist a platform.

Dr Evil on March 24, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Because both atheists & homosexuals are candidates for the transforming power of the Gospel.

And regarding atheists, Paul addresses unbelief* in his first letter to Timothy:

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.

*Of course, Paul was a Jew who was full of unbelief towards Jesus Christ, not an atheist. But unbelief is unbelief. God has overcome the unbelief of many an atheist.

itsnotaboutme on March 24, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Just like Christians ought to pray for homosexuals.

Because both atheists & homosexuals are candidates for the transforming power of the Gospel.

itsnotaboutme on March 24, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Thank you. And I pray for bigots and homophobes.

JetBoy on March 24, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Axe on March 24, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Well, as I say, the very fact that man, unless psychologically damaged, cannot live without infusing his existence with SOME meaning, be it stamp collecting or raising a healthy family, is evidence ( I say evidence, not proof – in metaphysics we don’t use terms like “proof”) that there is, in fact, objective meaning in reality.

That has to be accounted for.

But I am with you on the “not arguing” this stuff anymore. One of my breakthroughs in my Christian life came years ago when I discovered that it is not incumbent on me to prove this to those who choose to not believe.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 9:25 AM

I myself prefer the quiet, closet atheist who doesn’t mock me for my faith or invite me to abandon the traditions of my family and my Church. I like the ones who politely say, “No thank you,” when asked to come to Mass. The ones who show reverence to every faith because He is a proper noun and deserves such respect, even by the nonbeliever. It’s the same thing with homosexuality. I will be tolerant, but don’t scream at me to accept it.

redmama on March 24, 2012 at 9:27 AM

cannot live … there is, in fact, objective meaning

Love that. “Contingent” keeps on giving. :) Thanks for a little more rainy day work to do.

Axe on March 24, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Axe on March 24, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Likewise

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Atheists comparing their “struggle” to the gay rights movement now? Interesting little tidbit…

JetBoy on March 24, 2012 at 7:53 AM

Well it is well-documented that homosexuality is the gateway drug to atheism…

CorporatePiggy on March 24, 2012 at 10:11 AM

It’s the same thing with homosexuality. I will be tolerant, but don’t scream at me to accept it.

redmama on March 24, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Homophobe! (I literally laughed out loud at an earlier comment)

Yes, no laws against homosexuality, but no laws propping it up or legislative action legitimizing it.

Hate the sin, love the sinner. (I’m so glad God is that way!)

itsnotaboutme on March 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM

An athiest is someone who will happily debate you for hours about something that doesn’t even exist.

RSbrewer on March 24, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Because both atheists & homosexuals are candidates for the transforming power of the Gospel

.

The apostle Paul, in his first letter to the church in Corinth, chapter six, agrees:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

I don’t think you really even read that verse…look at the last part…

“Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

Basically say that “yeah, some of you were like this but you turned away from that accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether you believe that or not its easily apparent that is what the verse is saying…

Sammo21 on March 24, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Paul claimed to have seen post-resurrection Jesus Christ, & he preached that until Rome beheaded him. Why would he lie, & keep lying, about that?

I don’t know, maybe because he was a person who wanted to control others? You see, if he can make people believe his stories then those he convinces give up something to him. Power and control over their lives.

When he was railing against Christianity he was seeking what? The control of other people’s lives by telling them that the religion was false. If those he sought to persuade were persuaded, he gains control over their lives, but he sounds like an a$shole for doing it because he’s “shattering their dreams”.

Maybe Paul realized he had a hard time of doing that and decided to live by the old adage, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”

So he turned over a new leaf, said he saw Jesus, and got everyone’s attention. Then he began anew his crusade to get people to listen to him and partly give him control over their lives.

Certainly plausible

McDowell harassed Christians in his university, & researched the faith to try to destroy it…until his study destroyed his unbelief

Same story, different age.

Strobel used his journalistic skills to find flaws in the Bible so that he could persuade his wife to give up her new-found faith. But he gave up his faith in atheism.

itsnotaboutme on March 24, 2012 at 4:19 AM

Same story… In strobel’s case though I’d have to say that his conversion probably had more to do with making money as the shill he is.

Do you know how many people have made the claim that they were atheists in their past so that they could hock their wares and increase their net worth with books, speaking engagements and other money making ventures?

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Can I get some advice here please?

I’m struggling to find the right word to describe myself when it comes to religion. I do not believe in God. That doesn’t mean I claim to know the answer to life’s big mysteries (where I was before I was born, where I am going after I die, how the Universe began and whether and how it is ever going to end) but to me the usual religious answers are not satisfying. Since I’m surrounded by Christians, I am familiar with the Bible and their beliefs. I’ve been to church, mostly for weddings and funerals but also out of curiosity. I feel that I can tell right from wrong without the guidance of the Bible, because my family and my teachers taught me well.

If you want to imagine my relationship to Jesus, think about how you relate to Santa Claus. You know the story, you know the name of at least one reindeer, you are vaguely aware that there is an actual historical person behind the legend, and you have a general sense that he is a good guy, but ultimately you know he ain’t coming down that chimney at Christmas. (And please don’t take offense, because none is meant. I’m not trying to trivialize your Savior, I’m just trying to describe how I perceive Jesus.)

That said, I have no interest in convincing anyone that their religion is wrong, because doing so would make me a jerk. When my own children ask me about God, I tell them what I believe, I tell them to respect what others believe, and I tell them to figure out their own answers. I’ll gladly discuss religion if the other person brings up the topic, but as a matter of principle I never initiate the discussion. I’m not planning to go to the Mall today.

So what should I call myself? I used to say I’m an atheist, but I find that that word is loaded with so many negative connotations that I might as well call myself a rapist or a child molester. Also, I see a stark difference between myself and the kind of atheist who goes around telling religious people that they are stupid, and I really don’t want to identify myself as one of them.

Suggestions?

Time Lord on March 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM

So last week my wife and I went to my parents house for dinner, and right before grace my mom asked me if there was some kind of atheist grace we’d like to say. So I said “dear mom and dad, thank you for working so hard to provide this presumably delicious Thai takeout we are about to eat.”
There isn’t really a point to that, I just found it funny.

Frankly I don’t get why so many seem to have so much tied to society’s approval of their beliefs and decisions. So long as I’m free from violent coercion, no offense, but I really couldn’t care less what anyone thinks about it.

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Sauer, I hate to break this to you but…

if there’s no God, no Intelligent Designer, then life is OBJECTIVELY meaningless. The only meaning life then takes on is the meaning that one arbitrarily infuses into it. But even that is evidence FOR objective meaning because it is impossible for a mortal man, unlike the animal, to live a life that is not notable for the drive to FIND meaning.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 7:54 AM

There is no objective truth other than what WE decide it is. JUST because IDiots in our past were successful in forcing, either through persuasive words or swords, their beliefs on others and made the congregation grow, DOESN’T mean that what they came up with was right.

There is no difference between any of the religions as regards the manner in which they grew in numbers. Sometimes people see the writing on the wall and give up the argument and decided to live by the old adage, “if you can’t beat em, join em.” Sometimes they forced their beliefs on those they conquered like was tried with the crusades, and what was done to the Indians who inhabited the Americas.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

I contend that the ONLY thing which exists in this universe which either requires or desires your faith are con-men, frauds and charlatans trying to deceive you with otherwise unconvincing lies.

Deceivers need believers, and that’s why religion needs faith.

That’s why it promises unimaginable rewards only for those who are easily fooled, and that’s why it threatens a fate worse than death to those with the temerity to try to understand it, who ask too many questions, or who dare to peek at that man behind the forbidden curtain.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Well it is well-documented that homosexuality is the gateway drug to atheism…

CorporatePiggy on March 24, 2012 at 10:11 AM

According to whom?

JetBoy on March 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Time Lord on March 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Yeah, that’s atheism. There’s no precondition of atheistic evangelism, most take a “live and let live” approach.

Or you could not call it anything. That works too.

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Suggestions?
Time Lord on March 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM

My suggestion woe be to approach the question, not as a religious one, but as a philosophical one.

There are four primary questions that have to be addressed if one is going to claim to be a complete human being and they are: Origin, Meaning, Morality, and Destiny. Origin: how did I, and everything else, get here and specifically, by what means did inert matter (us) first become self-aware; Meaning: what’s the point of it all; Morality: what is objectively right and objectively wrong for all people’s, at all times, and in all circumstances; and then the big one – the one most men spend their lives trying to ignore – Destiny: what happens to me and everyone and everything, when we die?

It may take some time to seek out, honestly, the answers to those questions, and you may have to investigate many different faith traditions but if your approach is to be objective and to weigh credible evidence you will have to face the fact that a carpenter in 1st century Palestine’s claims to be the answer to those questions rest on credible evidence that no one else provides.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Sauer, I hate to break this to you but…

if there’s no God, no Intelligent Designer, then life is OBJECTIVELY meaningless. The only meaning life then takes on is the meaning that one arbitrarily infuses into it. But even that is evidence FOR objective meaning because it is impossible for a mortal man, unlike the animal, to live a life that is not notable for the drive to FIND meaning.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Think about what you’re saying here – if some invisible character that you have no evidence exists doesn’t exist, everything is meaningless. What does that say about your relationship with life and your moral code? Because that perspective is premised on your moral code and everything from which your life’s meaning is derived being completely arbitrary.

Now if you believe God is all knowing and wise or whatever, wouldn’t the moral code he imposes have an objective basis? And wouldn’t that mean that the validity of that code wouldn’t ve dependent on his presence?
A true believer in God would believe in the validity of their religious moral code regardless of whether their mythological assumptions proved incorrect. Unless, of course, that person thinks God is a huge jerk who just likes to arbitrarily tell people not to do stuff they want to do…

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

I find it revealing that, like most former believers who now claim atheism, you cannot seem to find peace with your conclusions but need to argue it with those who have drawn a different conclusion.

Witness the absurdity of a gathering on the Mall for non-believers to celebrate non-belief.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 11:05 AM

JetBoy on March 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Oh hush. He said it, so it’s obviously true.

So long as atheism isn’t a gateway drug to homosexuality I’m fine with that.

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Time Lord on March 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Suggestion…

With or without religion you have good people doing good things, and bad people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, that takes religion.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 11:07 AM

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM

You’re putting the cart before the horse here and, of course, attempting to posit a premise (there is no God) before one has been established.

The point of the exercise is to answer the question, “Is there a God?” Not to assume or presume what the answer is before investigating.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 11:05 AM

By that same logic wouldn’t that suggest that all religious evangelism originates because the evangelist doesn’t really buy the whole religious thing?

And how’s gathering to celebrate not believing in ridiculous stuff any more absurd than people getting together on a weekly basis to celebrate believing in ridiculous stuff?

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM

I find it revealing that, like most former believers who now claim atheism, you cannot seem to find peace with your conclusions but need to argue it with those who have drawn a different conclusion.

Witness the absurdity of a gathering on the Mall for non-believers to celebrate non-belief.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Cute Cleo… Cute. But do you not argue with atheists and people of other religions to try to persuade them to come to YOUR way of thinking or understanding as it relates to this ethereal god we all imagine could exist? You have to try a bit of pop psychology on me and rationalize my unbelief by saying I’m just trying to find peace with my conclusions?

They’re gathering on the mall to let you know what they’re there for you if you want to give up the fairy tale you happen to believe in and join the rest of us in the reality we all find ourselves in.

Let me assure you Cleo. I am at peace with myself, and I see the harm that religious belief does to otherwise great people like yourself.

I and many atheists like myself don’t say that a god or gods don’t exist, just that the obviously man made ones that people like you worship aren’t the god of the universe that we can all imagine.

It’s all about perspective Cleo. Look at the universe we “understand” today as compared to the universe those Bronze aged Bedouins and shepherds understood.

What have we learned in the last few years as regards the universe and our place in it. That each and every star up in the sky likely has one or more planets on them. That life is possible on planets other than our own… A realization that never even occurred to those who wrote the bible, koran, insert religious book here.

What does it say for Christianity’s story where god supposedly sent his only son down to THIS earth to die for our sins… If life exists elsewhere in this universe, which appears very likely given the size of it as we understand it today, does Christ need to be sacrificed on each and every planet that might have sentient life so that the inhabitants of those planets are saved as well? Or does his one sacrifice here suffice for all of them?

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM

So what should I call myself? Suggestions?

Time Lord on March 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Well, you can just call yourself Time Lord. It is kind of an awesome name but a little blasphemous. I call myself agnostic. I am not actively searching for anything but say I am open to possibilities. It doesn’t seem to cause as much of a stir as saying one is an atheist, nor does it seem to insult those who believe in any specific religion.

Fallon on March 24, 2012 at 11:18 AM

You’re putting the cart before the horse here and, of course, attempting to posit a premise (there is no God) before one has been established.

The point of the exercise is to answer the question, “Is there a God?” Not to assume or presume what the answer is before investigating.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Um…no?

You put forward the argument that if there isn’t a God, everything is objectively meaningless. Naturally an implication of this is that all meaning is derived solely from God, meaning that the meaning God has given to everything is completely arbitrary.

What I said is that if God set this moral code out of his infinite wisdom the meaning of life would not be dependent on God’s presence. Otherwise it wouldn’t require any wisdom whatsoever, he could just make stuff up for no reason at all.

Point being if there’s a reason for it, that reason isn’t dependent upon the presence of whoever noticed it (even if that whatever is the all knowing all seeing creator of all that is and ever shall be). If it is dependent upon God’s presence then it’s argumentum ad hominem and there is no reason (making it all arbitrary, and making God a huge jerk).

I didn’t posit whether or not there is a God.

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Well, you can just call yourself Time Lord. It is kind of an awesome name but a little blasphemous. I call myself agnostic. I am not actively searching for anything but say I am open to possibilities. It doesn’t seem to cause as much of a stir as saying one is an atheist, nor does it seem to insult those who believe in any specific religion.

Fallon on March 24, 2012 at 11:18 AM

You can’t please all of the people all of the time Fallon. You never will, but stand up for yourself and proudly say what you believe. The religious like to tell us that nobody can know for sure, but then turn around and tell you that they know.

Atheists and agnostics are both saying the same thing, atheists just have the balls to call the religious out on their unconvincing lies.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 11:28 AM

As I see it, agnostics actively believe that most religions are possible without actively believing in any religion.

Atheists just don’t believe in the religions. Some actively believe in the negative (which is statistically far more rational than being religious) others just reject the affirmative argument made by the religious and leave it at that.

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Well said galenrox.

Just like agnostic means to be without knowledge, or atypical means to be without typicalness, or amoral means to be without morals.

Atheism means, to be without theism.

Theism is defined as belief in a god or gods as the ultimate ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation.

Atheists and agnostics both fit this definition. One’s just more emphatic than the other.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 11:05 AM
By that same logic wouldn’t that suggest that all religious evangelism originates because the evangelist doesn’t really buy the whole religious thing?

Obviously true in some cases but certainly not all

And how’s gathering to celebrate not believing in ridiculous stuff any more absurd than people getting together on a weekly basis to celebrate believing in ridiculous stuff?
galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Because the former’s a reaction while the latter’s a response, at least ideally.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

…this spicy data set from Gallup.

May well be true: the placebo-effect is not unknown. But look at the range they present and how cropped the chart is. If going to church “at least” once a week only boosts you from 3.08 “positive” experiences per day (smiling and laughing etc.) to 3.36, and only lowers your bad cholesterol (“negative” experiences) from 1.04 to 0.85 (just over one to just under one), then is it really worth it? Not a big difference on a zero-to-ten chart.

Note also that in the second and third chart everybody feels better as the weekend comes, and then abruptly worse on Monday. What a surprise!

But, if the extra 0.28 smiles a day really are worth the trip every shabbos or dimanche or more, should we send the atheist John Derbyshire to mass, that delightfully dour conservative pessimist?

Tzetzes on March 24, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Let me assure you Cleo. I am at peace with myself, and I see the harm that religious belief does to otherwise great people like yourself.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM

You should have known me BEFORE I came to Christ.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM

You put forward the argument that if there isn’t a God, everything is objectively meaningless.

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Well, no, I didn’t actually put forward any argument yet. What I offered was a response to your argument. The distinction is subtle but distinct nonetheless.

Secondarily tho, not everything is meaningless; just the point of human existence.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Think about what you’re saying here – if some invisible character that you have no evidence exists…

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM

See? That’s where you interjected a premise you have not established as valid.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM


A more accurate description of these people would be “Anti-Christian”

Since they do not believe in anything, they are attacking the Christians who do, nothing more, nothing less.

It is basically a staple of the democrat Party of Hate and Hypocrisy, if you can’t support your views, attack those opposing you.

I also heard that Iowa Senator Harkin was phoning in support for this gathering of hate.

Nice.

cntrlfrk on March 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

great Islamic libraries

lexhamfox on March 24, 2012 at 12:22 AM

I LOL’d.

joe_doufu on March 24, 2012 at 12:31 AM

You beat me to it.

I’d put those right up there with the “Flying Egyptians”.

Solaratov on March 24, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Silverman says this is their moment, as important to atheists as the Stonewall riots were to the gay-rights movement four decades ago.

.

Atheists have had no few such moments. For instance, one such moment occurred on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. Another occurred on 14 July 1789 at Bastille Saint-Antoine in Paris, France.

Mike OMalley on March 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

See? That’s where you interjected a premise you have not established as valid.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Right…

I thought that was a pretty basic observation. God is either invisible (or has observational equivalency with being invisible) and there isn’t any evidence that he exists. That’s the whole point of faith in the first place – if there was evidence, faith wouldn’t be required.

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Do you know how many people have made the claim that they were atheists in their past so that they could hock their wares and increase their net worth with books, speaking engagements and other money making ventures?

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 10:29 AM

But an atheist would never do such a tawdry thing…..right?

Solaratov on March 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Well, no, I didn’t actually put forward any argument yet. What I offered was a response to your argument. The distinction is subtle but distinct nonetheless.

Secondarily tho, not everything is meaningless; just the point of human existence.

Cleombrotus on March 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

The distinction doesn’t make any sense, as I was responding to a statement you had put forward already.

And your secondary point makes no difference to my argument.

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Deceivers need believers, and that’s why religion needs faith.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Sort of like the faith that atheists have that there is no God.

Solaratov on March 24, 2012 at 1:48 PM

With or without religion you have good people doing good things, and bad people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, that takes religion.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 11:07 AM

And with that, you just went from being a reasonably intelligent person who is an atheist to just another typical hater who is an atheist. As such, you can now be ignored.

Solaratov on March 24, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Atheists and agnostics are both saying the same thing, atheists just have the balls to call the religious out on their unconvincing lies.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 11:28 AM

athe·ist
noun \ˈā-thē-ist\
Definition of ATHEIST
: one who believes that there is no deity

ag·nos·tic
noun \ag-ˈnäs-tik, əg-\
Definition of AGNOSTIC
1
: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god

Typical. Just another anti-religion hater-type.

Solaratov on March 24, 2012 at 2:05 PM

With or without religion you have good people doing good things, and bad people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, that takes religion.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 11:07 AM

When good people do bad things such as: murder, adultery, theft, perjury, it takes religion?

Thou shalt not kill
Thou shalt not commit adultery
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not bear false witness

Mike OMalley on March 24, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Sort of like the faith that atheists have that there is no God.

Solaratov on March 24, 2012 at 1:48 PM

No, sort of like the faith knowledge that your god, nor any other man made gods, aren’t the god that could possibly be.

He surely isn’t the god of the bible, koran, or any other religious cults currently being practiced. That much I know.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Silverman says this is their moment, as important to atheists as the Stonewall riots were to the gay-rights movement four decades ago.

Atheists, in particular 紅衛兵; the Red Guard, had such a moment in 1966 to 1967 in the PRC:

Mike OMalley on March 24, 2012 at 2:25 PM

When good people do bad things such as: murder, adultery, theft, perjury, it takes religion?

Thou shalt not kill, unless he says so (god allows, and performs murder against many people in the bible, doubt it, just read it)
Thou shalt not commit adultery
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not bear false witness

Mike OMalley on March 24, 2012 at 2:20 PM

You gave a small sampling of the big ten commandments, but why are the first 4 wasted on the vanity of your god? SUREly god could put other commandments in there besides those 4 like say maybe thou shalt not have slaves? thou shalt not bugger young children under your care?

Anyone can make a better ten commandments… Try these

1 Do not do to others what you would not want them to do unto you.
2 In all things, strive to cause no harm.
3 Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.
4 Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.
5 Live life with a sense of joy and wonder.
6 Always seek to be learning something new.
7 Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
8 Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
9 Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
10 Question everything.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 2:32 PM

There is no objective truth other than what WE decide it is.
SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Is your statement an objective truth?

YiZhangZhe on March 24, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Is your statement an objective truth?

YiZhangZhe on March 24, 2012 at 3:02 PM

It is to me, but it becomes one to us when we agree.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 3:07 PM

There is no objective truth other than what WE decide it is.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Uh… I don’t think you understand what “objective” means.

Is your statement an objective truth?

YiZhangZhe on March 24, 2012 at 3:02 PM

It is to me, but it becomes one to us when we agree.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Whooooosh.

CanofSand on March 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

There is no objective truth other than what WE decide it is.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Is your statement an objective truth?

YiZhangZhe on March 24, 2012 at 3:02 PM

It is to me, but it becomes one to us when we agree.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 3:07 PM

.
This is where “no recognition of God” will get you.

Classic.

listens2glenn on March 24, 2012 at 7:13 PM

This is where “no recognition of God” will get you.

Classic.

listens2glenn on March 24, 2012 at 7:13 PM

I don’t disavow the existence of a god glenn, just the man made ones that you and others worship. That doesn’t mean I have some inside line to another god, it just means that I can see a god as a possibility.

As Omar Khayyam said in his Rubaiyat

“And do you think that unto such as you
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew
God gave a secret, and denied it me?
Well, well—what matters it? Believe that, too!”

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 7:56 PM

I am so late to this discussion. :(

God is either invisible (or has observational equivalency with being invisible) and there isn’t any evidence that he exists. That’s the whole point of faith in the first place – if there was evidence, faith wouldn’t be required.
galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Not so. God has always provided evidence for His existence from the beginning. We are not expected to have Faith out of nothing. Christ provided the apostles loads of evidence, in the miracles He performed and in appearing to them after the Resurrection… He did not expect them to believe out of nothing. He said ‘blessed are they who have not seen and believe,’ and yet He didn’t abandon doubting Thomas to disbelief. He gave proof. We may not have indisputable proof, but we do have a wealth of evidence. There is evidence in the Sudarium of Oviedo, The Shroud of Turin, Eucharistic Miracles like that of Lanciano, stigmata, medical miracles, apparitions, etc…

What do you make of this evidence, or do you dismiss it out of hand. Do you take the carbon dating which has been soundly debunked and ignore the evidence of the Sudarium in relation to the Shroud? What is more irrational, looking at a wealth of evidence and concluding in the favor of belief, or dismissing it out of hand and believing something based on no evidence whatsoever? What evidence do you have that God does not exist that is stronger than this for His existence?

It is not irrational to look at this evidence and believe. You may not find it conclusive enough to abandon your intent to disbelieve, but that doesn’t make you more rational than me. It means we’ve looked at the evidence and come to differing conclusions. That is assuming you have looked at the evidence with an open mind.

And I don’t believe every bit of evidence at face value. There are some apparitions I have doubts about. I have doubts about incorruptibles. However, I find the scientific studies of the Shroud and Sudarium compelling, particularly when taken together and adding the scientific studies of the Eucharistic Miracle. Not only do I conclude that they are real, but that Jesus suffered and shed his blood (his precious type AB blood!) for my salvation. Deo Gratias!

However, my Faith does not rest on this evidence. I do not have, nor need rock solid proof that they are the burial cloths of Jesus. If it were somehow proved that they were forgeries, it wouldn’t make a difference, but evidence more and more leads to their authenticity. I think they were gifts to the doubting Thomases Jesus knew would come, whose hearts are not too hardened to Him.

No PROOF, but definitely evidence…do with it what you will.

:)

pannw on March 24, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Yes, the Reason Rally, because any belief that a higher power exists is clearly, utterly unreasonable…

Do you know how many people have made the claim that they were atheists in their past so that they could hock their wares and increase their net worth with books, speaking engagements and other money making ventures?

Conversely, how many atheists have you heard that have inflated the legitimacy of their enlightened view by making the point they were raised in a religious family/environment, and/or were strongly religious at one point? Crying out loud, it’s practically a meme on Reddit.

The Schaef on March 25, 2012 at 12:55 AM

I thought that was a pretty basic observation. God is either invisible (or has observational equivalency with being invisible) and there isn’t any evidence that he exists. That’s the whole point of faith in the first place – if there was evidence, faith wouldn’t be required.
galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM

What you are describing isn’t faith; it’s blind faith.

Cleombrotus on March 25, 2012 at 1:06 AM

I would never gloat to you, AP. Sorry to say it, but never have I encountered an atheist with such a witty, even self-deprecating humor about his beliefs. You’re a breath of fresh air for atheism.

(Not that I wouldn’t love for you to leave it… :-)

Grace_is_sufficient on March 25, 2012 at 3:49 AM

The T-shirt says it all:

The Bible says “In the beginning God created”
The atheist says in the beginning there was nothing. And it exploded.

Freelancer on March 25, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Still waiting for AP’s blog post on how the event actually went.

joe_doufu on March 25, 2012 at 4:00 PM

I thought that was a pretty basic observation. God is either invisible (or has observational equivalency with being invisible) and there isn’t any evidence that he exists. That’s the whole point of faith in the first place – if there was evidence, faith wouldn’t be required.
galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Straw man:

The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument:

Person A has position X.

Person B disregards certain key points of X and instead presents the superficially similar position Y. Thus, Y is a resulting distorted version of X and can be set up in several ways, including:
Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent’s position.

Quoting an opponent’s words out of context — i.e. choosing quotations that misrepresent the opponent’s actual intentions (see fallacy of quoting out of context).

Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender, then refuting that person’s arguments — thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position (and thus the position itself) has been defeated.

Inventing a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs which are then criticized, implying that the person represents a group of whom the speaker is critical.

Oversimplifying an opponent’s argument, then attacking this oversimplified version.

Person B attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed.

This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious, because attacking a distorted version of a position fails to constitute an attack on the actual position.
.

The Temple of Reason (French: Temple de la Raison) was, during the French Revolution, a temple for a new belief system created to replace Christianity: the Cult of Reason, which were based on the ideals of atheism and humanocentrism. This “religion” was supposed to be universal and to spread the ideas of the revolution, summarized in its “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” motto, which was also inscribed on the Temples.

.

Just a reminder:
The atheistic devotees of “Reason” who established the Temples of Reason, were similarly inept with reason. They were however particularly adept at terror and homicide.

Mike OMalley on March 25, 2012 at 7:50 PM

[Secular government] most certainly is not a Christian concept. It’s a pre-Socratic philosophy which was lost when the West was going through it’s Christianist phase and preserved in the great Islamic libraries until being re-discovered like the rest of the Classics…. then Renaissance then Enlightenment.

lexhamfox on March 24, 2012 at 12:22 AM

You realize that one of Socrates’ charges was “atheism”, don’t you? “Pre-socratic” how?

From Xenophon:

>Socrates is guilty of crime in refusing to recognise the gods acknowledged by the state, and importing strange divinities of his own; he is further guilty of corrupting the young.

Who had this idea? Ikhnaton? Xerxes? The agrarian Latins? I might be missing it, but I don’t see it.

Axeman on March 26, 2012 at 10:21 AM

With or without religion you have good people doing good things, and bad people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, that takes religion.

SauerKraut537 on March 24, 2012 at 11:07 AMSee, that hack is an equivocation on the word “good”. You’re saying that without religion, people are judged good or bad on the basis of their actions, but only in religion can people who are judged “good” in relation to their worldview do “bad things”. And that is patently wrong.

Let’s look a Abraham Lincoln: In the positive sense, he wanted two objective goods: 1) maintain the union and 2) abolish slavery, in light of Taney’s ruling on Dred Scott. However, he is considered a tyrant by various people, with a credible argument that he invaded a confederacy of properly seceded states, per their right retained under the Articles of Confederation.

Thus we can judge him preponderantly “good” or preponderantly “bad” in a wholly secular sense. But if we judge him “good”, it’s still clear that there is a case that this “good” man did a “bad” thing.

Now, please contend that maintaining a secular state requires ( “takes”) religion, or that freeing of slaves does. Because this is not what atheists are otherwise telling us.

Please cite fewer slogans in your attempt to control our thinking. You may believe this, but as a former atheist and as a reformed theist, I guessed from hearing this 30,000-foot view of history that it was probably bunk.

Let’s resolve it, with your “WE decide” rule. Well, if you like the Union more than you like the imagined/projected dissimulation through succession, then it’s “good”. If you think the “Union eternal” means that no state or group of states shall secede, then Lincoln didn’t invade–and perhaps the name “tyrant” is unearned. If you think that two nations existing side by side would only eventually war with each other, then perhaps one big Civil War is an acceptable trade-off. If you argue for some pure theory of government, then perhaps, it could have all been worked out with a proper categorization of terms. Now, we can go on and on, and put our own weights on each thing that Lincoln did and sum it up to “good” or “bad” man. And then “WE can DECIDE” to take each action in isolation and figure out whether or not Lincoln committed a “evil” action.

And I’ve just shown you how many things you believe–as well as having shown you that there is no way out of believing if you adopt the “WE decide” argument, because news to you often WE don’t decide, but fall into factions. In fact, if you cut right down to it, as you disrespect nearly 85% of mankind, you don’t want US deciding much–but YOU deciding and IF you let us in, then reviewing our decisions for your tests of “rationality”.

In another way, that slogan is a positive. We are forever buffeted by who defines what as “good” or “bad” “without religion”, but we can accept that in the rules of religion, a “good” person can do “bad” things. And that’s a good thing. Because all people who aspire to the same general concept of good–can learn that that is not the way to do “good”.

So you’re slogan is simplistic from an atheist perspective–not to mention probably an equivocation, if we must haggle the meaning in each consideration and weighing–but useful and valuable from the perspective of independent values, and even a hint of precipitous judgment on the part of “skeptics”.

Axeman on March 26, 2012 at 11:15 AM

I thought that was a pretty basic observation. God is either invisible (or has observational equivalency with being invisible) and there isn’t any evidence that he exists. That’s the whole point of faith in the first place – if there was evidence, faith wouldn’t be required.

galenrox on March 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM

There are lots of things that are invisible.

Love, hate, rationality, stupidity, cleverness, empathy, mathematics …

Do these things exist?

The existence of something is not established by an appeal to sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Similarly, one of the most elementary mistakes made repeatedly in these kinds is to think that existence equates to corporeality; it doesn’t.

YiZhangZhe on March 26, 2012 at 1:00 PM

One more thing, Sign at a rally for Non-stamp-collectors: “Lack of Stamp-Collecting NOW!!”

Axeman on March 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM

One of my breakthroughs in my Christian life came years ago when I discovered that it is not incumbent on me to prove this to those who choose to not believe.

That is a practical approach, since it is impossible to prove that God exists (to either believers or non-believers). There is no reason to believe in God. Belief in God can only be based on blind faith; it is not a rational belief.

The whole point of believing in God is to get away from reality and substitute fantasy for some part of your life. The smaller that part is, the better — but a better life is sometimes not enough motivation to get believers to become more reasonable people. But as long as theists don’t try to make belief into a social-political issue, they can live peaceably in society.

Steve Stoddard on March 28, 2012 at 3:25 AM

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