A bunch of pussies. Reservations are for dinner, not the philosophical foundations of one’s life. A respect for those of faith? Why should anybody have respect for
institutionalized stupidity? My imaginary friend disappeared when I was
about three or four. How about your’s?

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Comment by Glen Rosenberg on September 21, 2010 at 4:52pm
There is a certain smugness on both sides that comes with the certainty of being right. Unfortunately the religious brain uses an emotional force field to repel atheist rhetoric. That is why I think secular humanism has a place in the march towards rationalism.
Comment by david perry on September 21, 2010 at 3:40pm
I agree. There can be a certain smugness with strident atheism that differs little from strident religiosity. You're probably right about "secular atheism", more flies with sugar than vinegar and all that. Which is why I wish the entire debate on Theism vs. Atheism could be skipped entirely. It seems self defeating to proselytize those who proselytize, it's pointless.
I'm one of those apparently rare Americans that never had the yoke of religion forced on me. I attended Lutheran service with my parents, but they always knew I wanted nothing to do with it, ours was not a 'devout, religious' household. Therefore I don't know what it feels like to abandon a lifetime of belief. I've always responded to attempts to "convert" me with bemusement. If that makes me smug, I really don't care, the concept of god, as far as I'm concerned, is a form of delusion that I never wished to adopt. The converse of that attitude I see everywhere; I think it's destructive. I want them to leave me alone.
Which is a fine principle in theory, and next to impossible in practice. I start to worry when the power of government might be used to change my mind, or at least make me pretend that I have. At that point I think it's appropriate to start screaming about it, and I feel we are perilously close to that point.
Fascism. If you accept Mussolini's definition of the word, then a lot of the socialist pinko types I read and agree with think we're already there. If you give it some consideration, you might also agree that the far right conservative propaganda we are subjected to these days bears no small resemblance to the work of one of the 20th century's most prolific practitioners of the art: Josef Goebbels.
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on September 21, 2010 at 2:06pm
Dont forget the cardinals who gave sanctuary and new identities to the mass murdering nazis. I did not communicate well last post. I meant to say that the only crime of the church that is understood by the general public is sex abuse. Their crimes would be legendary in a cosmic hell I am guessing.
My theocracy comment was only meant to convey the high mucky muck anathema of atheism. Maher and the rest reach the people who have already seen the light. I think secular atheism can catch more rabbits than-dont say that awful word atheists. After the mind is slightly ajar the real deal can move in for the kill. Although I am guessing that youngsters who are feeling alienated and are questioning things may be more susceptible to the atheist pitch.
As for the direction of the country I think things are heading towards fascism. As long as our economy is bad this will be the case.
Comment by david perry on September 21, 2010 at 12:50pm
The church's role in WWII could be expounded upon at length. Mussolini created the Vatican as the price for silence. They signed the concordat with Hitler, and we know how that turned out. Until recently, antisemitism was official policy. There's a lot more than the pedophilia to apologize for. They are the European face of Christianity. It's American face is causing more trouble now, the Christian right seems intent on starting a holy war with Islam, which is a major concern.
I don't think a theocracy is an option for the oligarchy, it wouldn't be the cash cow our semblance of democracy is. Which leads to another point: much like Islam, the christian right does not separate politics from their religion. Hopefully, the American people won't let that nonsense get out of hand, enough blood has been shed for nothing.
But consider this: does not the ideologically conservative political movement making so much sound and fury have all the elements of a religion? A godless religion if you will? Religious zealotry has always been historically associated with ultra-conservative politics. Why shouldn't that be a concern for atheists as well? Religion is just another propaganda tool for them, used with the intent of shutting down rational debate.
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on September 21, 2010 at 9:38am
I think the only crime of the catholic church that is well known is sex abuse. I am all for education but there is no way to avoid the appearance of having an agenda and again the stigma of religion is tough to pierce. I stand by what I say in regards to humanism v atheism. If US turns into a theorcracy I believe the atheists will be executed before the humanists. Maybe televised debates between theists and atheists on the issue of religion as a force for good or evil would help.
Comment by david perry on September 21, 2010 at 9:16am
@Glen: they listen to Dawkins, to Bill Mahre, any number of people with a public voice, and at least the crimes of the Catholic church are general knowledge now, yet the Pope is still taken seriously as a moral leader. Most people know there is a very explicit separation between church and state in this country yet don't question any of the overt ways it is routinely disregarded, much less the subtle ones that make it so easy to mock atheism ( i.e.-like raising a row about "In God We Trust" on currency, all those little things that make more news than the big problem).
Turning the other cheek, despite the advice's source, is not something organized religion does very often. They fight dirty.
Obviously, the only answer is education. If more people could stop taking the possibility of deity as matter-of-factly as they do the presence of air.................................
I just don't think Secular Humanism is enough. It all too often seems to have the same kind of smugness to it that religion does. They see this, and use it as a weapon.
I would only take exception to your assertion that atheism feels awful somehow, and that Humanism is palatable by comparison. Feeling awful about atheism just means you don't get it, it's an absence of something useless. Religion is like hitting yourself with a stick all the time(some of them do that too, don't they?), it feels better when you stop.
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on September 21, 2010 at 8:35am
I agree with you again. It is the damage that religion does that is of paramount concern. Silly philosophical arguments should perhaps take a back seat to the reality of religion's harm. And the general public is woefully ignorant of the damage and in fact has bought into the religious propaganda equating religion and morality. And also it has bought into the stigma attached to atheism. That is why it is hard to get through when you are a loud mouthed, visceral, commi atheist pinko extremist. Secular humanism does not feel as awful as atheism yet it can work its insidious good towards rationalism.
Comment by david perry on September 21, 2010 at 1:46am
@Aaron: Dawkins says a lot of things, but what I was referring to more was the type of wishy-washy secularism that proves very little and wants to somehow accommodate faith. I don't consider secular humanism the type of agnosticism that is trying to be logically consistent(like Dawkins, who is, for all practical purposes, an atheist), it is the "I'll withhold judgment just in case God is there and get's pissed" type of agnosticism that I see all to much of that pisses me off.
To me, "humanism" is as much a political term as anything. Star throwing the word "Atheist" around and you get zero attention from the people you want most to reach. That whole genre of non-faith tries to be too politically correct, and seems to give too many people the misapprehension that atheism is just another religion.
Deity is irrelevant. I think the time for debating the existence of the supernatural is over. The much more immediate problem is religion, and the ongoing damage it does to humanity. It isa political struggle. One against irrationality and superstition.
We need to move beyond baby steps. Dawkins, Hitchens and the rest of the public voices of atheism need to "be fruitful and multiply", not sit back and philosophize.
The Enlightenment was supposed to be about moving past mythology, not becoming another one.
Comment by Aaron S. (USA) on September 21, 2010 at 12:34am
:\ Isn't Richard Dawkins a secular humanist? I've seen him state so.

The Center for Inquiry doesn't pull many punches, either, and it's a humanist organization.
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on September 20, 2010 at 11:56pm
I think you are correct. But consider the impact of secular humanism on Christianity. First it was the various religious orders, and then the protestants, the deists and the agnostics and secular humanists have progressively weakened the authority and monopoly the church once held. When the state mandated atheism in Russia it did not work. They all aint ready. Baby steps.

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