The original thread is gone. That would be my bad.

Here's what happened, told in my usual verbose parenthetical style. If you just want to get on with it, skip past the italics.

I originally registered for Atheist Nexus last Sunday after listening to a Chariots of Iron podcast where AN was mentioned, while on a bus from Wilmington NC to Washington DC following the Christmas holiday. Since I was using my Motorola Droid (which is cooler than shit, by the way) I actually registered on the bus using this hand-held computer, browser and Twittering system with GPS cabability with which, I'm told, you can also make phone calls with.

I have two Gmail accounts, one using my given name which syncs directly with Google Calendar and Google Docs and I use mostly for work, family and my capacity as director of the National Association of Hen Teasers (I can get a chicken from head-under-wing asleep to apoplectic in 30 seconds, but anyway...) and the other is associated with my site and the nom de guerre "Mykeru" (which is a story in itself). Being too lazy to switch accounts, I registered using the email for my given name and thought that I could fill in the pseudonym later. Which I did. What I didn't realize was that the underlying architecture of Atheist Nexus was a tool of Satan and used my initial registration to create a URL using my given name.

Now, keep in mind that I'm an atheist, a recovered alcoholic and an incorrigible asshole who tends to overshare anyway, so although I can't keep everything separate, I try not to make things easy for fuck nozzles who use Google as the groundwork for being complete assholes. Seriously, once I had right-wing nutbags get my name from the domain information on my site, when it was poorly protected by RCN and cause all sorts of mischief. I since changed from HTML to WordPress and moved the whole operation to Laughing Squid, who not only protect anonymity better, but just love a good bogus DMCA notice that they can chew up and spit back into some lawyers face.

Plus, and this is important, by using the Mykeru brand name, I can be even more of a pain in the ass than I already am.

I'm about to reboot my site and I would like to have the ability to link to my page on AN without giving the whole game away. I tried to change the URL in the settings, no good. I changed the email, but still the URL held my name. I sent a couple "issue" reports to AN, but no response.

I was spending more time trying to deal with this dumb quirk "through channels" than it really deserved in terms of redoing my profile. So before I added too much content I decided to just delete my registration and re-register making sure that the mark of quality that is "Mykeru" was used. I figured I would have to redo my profile, add my picture again and make friends all over again.
I didn't. Miraculously, when the re-register was approved, the page came back with all settings, links and what have you intact.

However, and I didn't expect this: The fucking thread "Religion vs. Spirituality" was gone. Just gone. I thought maybe, if anything, my remarks might disappear, making it sort of one-sided, but the entire thing was gone.

So, for everyone who contributed to that thread, offered their thoughts and opinions, whether they were really stupid or not, I apologize profusely. Although I don't have a problem with my writing in that thread being deleted, there is no way that I intended the same for everyone else who contributed.

I fully accept whatever punishment is coming to me, especially if you are anything from a 20-something girl to a cougar in the metro Washington DC area with an extensive latex wardrobe and really like horned guys with creepy lemur eyes.


So, where were we? The thread began relating religion to spirituality and degenerated into an exercise in lexicography and Howard's fuck-all worthless opinion.

So, taking it from there:

1. Does the term "spiritual" necessarily involve the supernatural? I claim it does and people who use it in any other way are just too lazy to use a dictionary. Is using the term for the non-supernatural just sloppy language? Is using it aiding and abetting the religious by at the very least seeming to be fellow travellers?

2. Can one be an atheist and not be a skeptic towards the supernatural? This is the reverse of the case I hear reported at the last The Amazing Meeting (TAM) where Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience recounts that the "skeptics" in attendance were told to lay off those skeptics who were also theists. I can't disagree more with that, and think those kid gloves represents another example of religion getting a pass. But is the reverse true: Can one be a critical atheist, whose lack of belief is derived from rational grounds and not also be a skeptic when it comes to the "spiritual"?

3. Is Atheist Nexus' underlying architecture a tool of Satan?

Tags: boners, religion, spirituality

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What makes me wince a bit on this board is the idea that anyone has ultimate reality figured out for anybody else and considering or calling anyone who believes or experiences differently "cowardly," "stupid," or at best "confused." Seems a bit arrogant if not absolutely butt-headed to me, just because your reality doesn't include any such possibilities. Isn't this prescribing of reality and intolerance to others' interpretatipns exactly what gives us the creeps and pisses us off about organized religions? It sure is for me..

I've worked with First Nations youth who have seen visions of their family members who've passed on, a family member of my own who knew and felt the exact moment of his mother's death. Who am I to call that a delusion? Who are you? Oh right.. just some asshole with an opinion which is likely given by thought and experience (or a lack thereof), just like me, just like anyone else on this planet.
I keep responding to your messages and now i dont think they are directed at me cuz i have not commented once about weather any one view of having visions or any other supernatural thing as being right wrong stupid or other waise. I have simply argued thats using the word Spiritual to describe something thats is not about spirits or supernatural is just a mis use of the words. Experiencing or feeling that you experienced a vision would qualify to me as proper use of the word Spiritual. Am i debating on a diferent topic then the rest i thought we were discussing how the word Spiritual was being mis used for a natural reaction like awe or inspiring moments? did i miss something in the conversation?

Goddess? to say these are opinion given by experience isn't realistic either many of us have thought we have seen ghost and other things. Once you study the brain and all the un reall things humans can experience thru shared delusions and so forth, you learn to question your own booha about what you think you see or experience. you find your mind is still very basic tool and science and being skeptical about the things you go through can lead to answers that are more based on what can be explained then can't with in the very thing you experience and only choose things you can solidly define as real anything that can't hold up to science becomes un reliable and outside of reality. Most Supernatural experiences even have Scientific reasoning behing why some one might think they experienced something making it even easier to get tossed off to the side as not realistic even though you may have felt it was. I am not saying you as in you it's more ingeneral but what my point is i guess is not all of us are basing our reality off our experience but that wich can hold up beyond our own experiences.

I dont think any one is stupid cowardly or confused i just think they think of the world in a different light then myself. I feel my way is more grounded in reality based beyond myself becuase my experiences dont add up to being with in the realms of probable ( i have talked to trees). I think that just excepting that your reality cant hold up under tests but cant be disproven should give you enough to blow off that others think it is rubbish but their feelings that it isn't reliable should not bug you becuase simply their Bar for what defines reality doesnt include non provable experiences.
Thanks for clarifying yourself Jon. What I don't get on this board is the intolerance for other views and flaming in the face of any disagreement, most of the worst of which was deleted by Mykeru, and the absolutist thinking which for me is very reminicent of fundamentalism within religions. If your reality is dependant upon scientific proof, and this has you feeling secure about your world, awesome. I'm highly skeptical and think critically about everything I read or hear presented as fact, but I'm also just someone who really doesn't need everybody to have the same basis for reality and I actually appreciate the diversity. Its a good thing we're not all the same or believe the same. How boring would that be? Reality is subjectively created as well as collectively and yes hopefully there's overlap at least in the meaning of words, but you and I could overhear the same conversation and have two very different interpretations of what the hell was going on in it. We make our own meaning in life. My "spiritual" can but does not necessarily contain "religious." Yours does. Who cares?

The stuff I find fascinatingly bizarre is the faith healings when people go into convulsions and then then awaken free of whatever problem they went in with, and things like reiki that people swear by. What the hell is going on there?? Then there's that edge of science that seeks to explain.. they've identified part of the brain that seems reserved for "spiritual" experiences, quantum physics and such. I know two people who report curing themselves of cancers with "woowoo" stuff like this. Science might call it the power of suggestion, others dumb luck, and still others divine intervention. Who cares if for them, they prayed and their prayers were answered? As long as they aren't forcing me to pray, then I'm cool. I'm sure many on this board would relish calling them "stupid," "insane" or "cowardly," but that's so obviously puny-mindedness in my opinion. I can't remember who else besides Mykeru was doing that, but there have been several flamey comments like that on this board... but come to think of it, I think I did refer to his dick as little, call him a wanker and liken him to a gorilla flinging poo. Oops. Do I get voted off for that?
"I'm also just someone who really doesn't need everybody to have the same basis for reality"

What does that even mean? What do "different basis for reality" look like? And how would you apply that when, say, crossing the street? Are those that get run over by a bus just operating off a "different basis for reality"? Or an obviously inferior one? Then again, we shouldn't be judgmental and say that getting run over by a bus represents failure.

That would be rude.

Would you follow a map created by someone operating off a "different basis for reality", whatever that is? Would you get on a plane built by "a different basis" for aerodynamics? Take medicine based on a more laid-back, non-judgmental periodic table?

You know, maybe you perceive people's responses as "flaming" because what you write is often just -- not to be judgmental here -- so fucking stupid.
Now, now. Don't get your testes in a twist Mykeru. I was talking about your flaming in response to other writers, not me. Lol, til now..! So sensitive.

Uh, you're making some rather silly comparisons in your comments above. Aerodynamics and spiritual beliefs ain't exactly the same thing, bub. But nice try.
"Who are you?"

Hi, I'm Mykeru and that's the "fallacy of selection". You don't explain how he felt his mother's death, but I bet it went down something like this:

The family member thinks of mom, dreams of mom, has a random mom memory, or even thinks about her death (which is not unlikely when your folks hit a certain age of have some medical condition) and later mom is dead and family member says "Wow, I was thinking about mom and..."

Of course he was. We do that all the time. Most of the time nothing comes of it, but occasionally one of this innumerable thoughts lines up with an event. The thing is, we don't count all the times we think of Mom and she doesn't die.

Similar events: Guy is about to get on a plane and gets a feeling of dread. Doesn't board the plane. Plane crashes. Woo! PSYCHIC!. No, it's not. Let me tell you, as a nervous flier, people bail on flights a thousand times a day, and the plane doesn't crash. It's easy when you get to count the hits and ignore the misses.

GotV, this concept, the "fallacy of selection" along with confirmation bias is so fundamental, part of the Skeptic 101 toolkit, that your apparent lack of awareness of it means you aren't qualified to be having this conversation. But for some reason, everyone is aware that they are not qualified to work on cars or make cabinets, but everyone thinks they are qualified to discuss things supposedly transcending reality. It's almost like someone admitting they are not qualified to make a plastic model airplane, but then assume they are ready to work commercial aircraft maintenance.

Mostly, I think that is due to your attitude, where you consider actual structured, concrete thought and critical thinking as somehow debased whereas you are above all that, much like the theist who doesn't bother to learn how the world works so they can skip over it and talk about what God wants.
Oo, I'm not qualified eh? Well excuuse me. Um, aren't you kinda missing the point? Or are you only interested in preaching to your converted? Certainly seems that way.

Hmm, you're just all about assumptions, aren't ya? Duh, of course I get those concepts. I still however, decline to go around telling others that god doesn't exist or taking their magic away from them just because I don't see it, and then strut around feeling all superior as you (and a few others here) seem to be doing. I am quite comfortable with whoever believing in whatever the hell they want as long as they are not causing harm to anyone else or force feeding belief. I do have a problem with it when it's not safe for someone to be known as an atheist in their own community, etc., and for the same ethics, I take issue with your behaviour and its effects on the board. By launching these ego attacks of yours on those more open minded than you, you create a climate of unsafety for people to voice their views unless they're the same as yours. This will have a dampening effect on discussion.. not much fun, eventually. I'm glad most others' perspectives on this site seem a bit less rigid than yours, otherwise, I'd be questioning whether or not I'd want to hang out here at all.

Who would tell (or even think at) a man who'd lost his mother and felt her with him at the precise moment of her passing, "Sorry to break it to you, but that was fallacy of selection right there.." If he's had an experience that he feels is exceptional and unique, and he's willing to share it with me, that's an honour. The man who shared that story with me, by the way, is one of the most skeptical, practical people I've ever known, who got his heart broken open there.

FYI, not that you'd believe me, and not that that matters at all, but I freaking love critical thought. I just happen to be critical of your thought, but mainly of your attitude. I'm content with leaving it at mutual derision if we're just playing the ego game here. But if you want to beef some more pm me ok? No need to clutter up the board anymore with personal crap.. don't want to lose our "audience" now.
"I am quite comfortable with whoever believing in whatever the hell they want as long as they are not causing harm to anyone else or force feeding belief."

All this tells me is that you are not familiar with evangelical Christianity, Islam or how any of the major religions operate.

"Who would tell (or even think at) a man who'd lost his mother and felt her with him at the precise moment of her passing, "Sorry to break it to you, but that was fallacy of selection right there..""

I wasn't saying it to him, I was saying it to you for recounting the tale as if it meant something.

"If he's had an experience that he feels is exceptional and unique, and he's willing to share it with me, that's an honour. "

I have some pictures of my ass-crack pixies which might interest you.

"The man who shared that story with me, by the way, is one of the most skeptical, practical people I've ever known"

That you've known. If you say so. No surprises there.

"I freaking love critical thought. I just happen to be critical of your thought, but mainly of your attitude."

Yes, but these are my deeply held beliefs. You should feel honored that I'm sharing them with you and coddle me too instead of being a big judgmental meanie, right?

"I'm content with leaving it at mutual derision if we're just playing the ego game here."

The only person with an ego problem here is you, who gets bent out of shape when I don't take every poorly thought out thing you write as revealed truth.

"But if you want to beef some more pm me ok?"

No, sorry. This is a public forum where we all agree to be open. I'm not giving you a special exemption to advocate woo in public and then be criticized in private. Nice work if you can get it, but I have no desire to have a private discussion with you about anything.
Um, are you referring to the likes of me, perchance? You experience me as "selling wares"? Cripes.. That's hilarious.
"All this tells me is that you are not familiar with evangelical Christianity, Islam or how any of the major religions operate."

Uhh, okay.. ? Why?? Of course I know this. Oh, I get it.. You assume that I am stupid because I do not agree with your fundamentalism and you think I believe in ass crack fairies because I identify myself as spiritual and for you "spritual" means all these things that it doesn't actually mean for me. Right. But- just what did you think I was referring to when I said "as long as they are not force feeding beliefs"?? And, why do you think I would be interested in joining an athesit website? Hul-lo?? I'm an atheist.

"I freaking love critical thought. I just happen to be critical of your thought, but mainly of your attitude."

"Yes, but these are my deeply held beliefs. You should feel honored that I'm sharing them with you and coddle me too instead of being a big judgmental meanie, right?"

Woops, buddy, you're losing the point again. I don't care what you believe, I take issue with your attacks on others who don't feel the same way as you do. This is why I've been "attacking" you and calling you on your behaviour. You deleted a lot of your bullying posts in the original thread, but every time an atheist mentioned making room for some sense of the spiritual, you got really nasty and insulted them. And it strikes me as pretty odd, because you're the one who started the thread and appeared to be opening up the question for discussion. Then you crapped all over anyone with a different opinion than yours like some playground bully. And now you and Phil are accusing me of exactly what you two have been doing. Again, nice try. Come on, admit it.. you got caught with yer pants down. I feel so ... used.

"The only person with an ego problem here is you, who gets bent out of shape when I don't take every poorly thought out thing you write as revealed truth."

??? Please take note: I am not asking you to believe in anything spiritual. What have I said that makes you, or Phil, or anyone else, think that I am trying to make you think or believe something? I just offered my perspective and experiences, because it was invited by the discussion board you opened up. I kinda thought that's what discussion was supposed to be about.. presenting different views on a subject. It appears you might have had another goal in mind, maybe being the glorious victor of an argument or something, which explains the "attack mode." I don't want or expect you to accept my views (which btw you are making a whole shitload of unintelligent assumptions about) as ultimate truth. I'm not an absolutist. One more time, I just see things my way and have room in my world for others to have their own realities too without it being a threat to my own in regards to spiritual beliefs. I really just take issue with your behaviour on a supposed DISCUSSION board.

You apparently are an absolutist, which for me = dogma. Whatever floats your boat. Just don't bully me or anyone else for presenting a different view.

As for being "mean" to you.. just call me "karma!" :D LOL.. And yeh- I can be a bitch sometimes.
"Uhh, okay.. ? Why?? Of course I know this. Oh, I get it.. You assume that I am stupid because I do not agree with your fundamentalism and you think I believe in ass crack fairies because I identify myself as spiritual and for you "spritual" means all these things that it doesn't actually mean for me."

Wow, what you wrote really makes no sense. Rather than thinking things through you have this habit of going off on a riff. I would suggest that before you start riffing on what you think I think, you should figure out what you think first.

No, I wrote that because your take on the religious was like someone saying "I don't mind C-4 explosives in the cargo hold of the plane I'm in as long as it doesn't explode". Well, that's nice, but it's in the nature of bombs on planes that they do explode. The intent in planting them is destruction. In the same way, the majority of religions from Christianity and Islam to marginal woo based themselves on the premise that 1. They are true. 2. They are unquestionable 3. That they must be spread and imposed. Happily, as societies have evolved religions have less political power, so they can't impose their preferred penalty for getting in their way, which is death. This isn't the case of countries under Sharia law, where women are still shot in the head in football stadiums in front of cheering crowds for adultery. A few hundred years ago whatever vague woo you believe in would have gotten you a good dunking, at least.

And the only reason why some idiot that believes in woo like Urine Therapy doesn't make everyone drink a glass of their own piss in the morning is that they don't have the cash and political power to do it.

Agreed that no one cares what anyone else believes as long as they don't impose it...blah blah blah. You know what? That never fucking happens. The American Christian right wing, like their Muslim counterparts, are not a monastic order that cloister themselves away and believe in bullshit. They are, first and foremost political entities that use legislation, at best, and violence, at worst, to get their way.

In other words, assholes from Operation Rescue didn't sit on the sidelines and think bad thoughts about abortion rights. They are continuously introducing legislation and when they can overturn abortion outright, they try to limit dissemination of information and funding. And when they get a chance, they also shoot doctors.

So your "whatever" attitude, which fails to see how the very things we are opposing here cash in in the real world would just be sort of stupid and naive if it wasn't for the fact that you tend to arrogantly call people "absolutists" who aren't as indifferent as you are. Your attitude isn't derived from your being enlightened. It's just that you don't seem to give a shit.

The rest of what you wrote is just your free-form riffing about nothing.
"How did you two end up in that fight. I lost the text that set it going."

Basically, I have a position and GotV thinks I'm a meanie absolutist for not thinking about it as little as she has.

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