Dr. Terence Meaden's Comments

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At 3:30am on January 13, 2009, paul said…
i agree. any proper analysis of the popular conceptions of deities reveals that they are just that: concepts. they have no actual reference point and could not exist if humans did not have language. language gives humans the unique ability to create realities that are not actually real; fallacious realities in which the gods reside. although it is important to note that in our language, 'gods' brings to mind certain stereotypes; stereotypes that would not fit the 'gods' of the most ancient cultures. their 'gods', according to their records, were not abstract esoteric ideas, but seemed rather to be physical beings with physical weapons, etc. that isn't to say that i 'believe' these accounts, but for many reasons i give them more credence than those that came afterward. it is merely interesting to note the progression from apparently physical 'beings' (not recognized as 'gods' as we understand the term) to the entirely 'spiritual' nature of today's gods. Epicuras' rhetoric that "...If the gods are neither able nor willing, then why call them gods?" sums up my view. i dont think that are 'gods'. but i dont KNOW that there are not. and i am indifferent because there are more important things about which to be concerned. that is why humanism is the true savior of humankind: because humanists are concerned with the affairs of humans, and religionists...well, theyre not. i hope i am clear. and THANK YOU for the resources you suggested and for the add.
At 11:31pm on January 12, 2009, Josue said…
Hi Dr. Terence! Hope all is well. Thanks for the invitation. I'll check the contents of the group ORIGINS soon. I'm very interested on its subjects and would like to discuss how to address the increasing of intelligent design teaching in schools.
At 3:30pm on January 12, 2009, Dr. Terence Meaden said…
Arshad has correctly discussed the point about atheism not being a religion.
I think that all atheists are aware of this, although not all theists understand the point.
I have written about this many times.
The debate opens with the point that it is an atheistic universe into which we are all born. Every baby, like every animal and insect, is born into this atheist world. But in the case of human babies, silly stories get put into unsuspecting innocent brains. Usually the parents start first, and schools and priests follow. In theocratic states escape is really difficult. Even in democratic western countries, escape is not easy because a high degree of freethinking rationality needs to be attained by the unbiased mind and many people are incapable of achieving this.
Only atheists arrive at the ultimate reality of knowing that gods exist as fictions inside human heads and they exist nowhere else.
At 12:41pm on January 12, 2009, Arshad said…
I have just posted my message in reply to the Adam Johnson's point that people think that 'Atheism' is also like a another set of belief... Please read it and correct me if I am incorrect what I have said.
....

You have raised very important point. If 'Atheism' can be regarded as another latest 'religion' like so many religions adopted by the humanity in the past. It is absolutely not such case. "Atheism" not a faith. It is the objective reality of the nature of which we are product. It is not a set of certain beliefs and rituals based on ignorance or of human psychological needs. Actually, 'Atheism' word is being used for just understanding. Otherwise, we do not need this word/terminology. And it is wrong to say "I believe in atheism"... To me It is a nonsense and useless phrase. Believing only can be made which is none existed. For instance, no one can say that "I believe in sun". Sun is there. Sun does not need believing for its proof of existence! It is simply there. No one can deny. One can not say, 'I do not believe in Sun' too. Belief and act of Believing is only can be said which do not exist. The fact which has its objective reality, believing and unbelieving is nonsense word for it. We can say, ' I believe in god' but we can not say 'I do not believe in god'.. it is a nonsense phrase. It means god is there but I do not believe in it... as nobody say and can not say, that 'I do not believe in sun'.

Belief is required only for those things which are not existed. If they were existed there was no reason to make believed on them..

So as a matter of fact, 'Atheism' is not a belief like any other religion. We do not believe in anything as such. We do not need to believe. "Atheism" is a temporary word. We should make it clear loudly that it is not a another kind of religion.. We are just saying that what objectively is there in the universe, its natural laws governing in physical, social, and historical world... we should accept them. They are the undeniable reality. We should not fabricated 'laws' by ourselves as all religions are done...
At 11:51am on January 12, 2009, Arshad said…
Hi Terence Meaden,

I am grateful for your comments about me. Really I am very impressed how energetically you are working for promoting rational
and scientific thinking. You are very well read and you have equipped with the knowledge of everything which you may confront. You have very good knowledge of Islamic history and I amused how you describe the Mohammed. It is historical fact..but unfortunately no faithful is ready to read the history of their own religion objectively..they just blindly believe taught to them by their parents,the society and the state.. religion give them comfort... religion give them ready made and simple answers of harsh questions of life..why they bother to explore truthfulness..which could be bitter. Religion makes life easier to the common man... he/she gets satisfactory answers of their every problems and questions.. in the very cheapest price! just giving away some alms, just performing some rituals, their whole problems of this life and "hereafter life"are solved. Only a brave and confident person can be a atheist who can face the challenges & questions which are put forth by the life and nature. So religion is for simple minded persons who do not dare to use their mental faculties. Those who want to stay at low intellectual level.. Ruling & priest classes exploit this situation in their own interest. You people who lives in the West has won the fight..against rationality. Only little more fight is left. Church is on the run...in a fading position. Church can not survive under the onslaught of scientific knowledge and technology... Great job has already been done by Western Thinkers, scientists of all sorts, philosophers, artists..

The real dilemma is faced by us. We are living in 21st Century and in the medieval age at the same time... At one hand, I am using the latest technologies, I have the latest information and knowledge about life, about history, about universe.. and at the same time I am living in primitive social and political conditions..

We are confident. Knowledge is with us. Science & Technology is with us. Objective truth is with us. History is with us. Course of history can not be changed. Clock can not be reversed. We will win too.. Humanity will win. We created the god.. Yest it was our need at the some point of the history...We needed god/s at that time. Now we do not need. We have come of age.

Our fighting is double for those who live in under developed countries. It is not a just war of old and new. It is not a just ideological war. Religion has blocked our mental, cultural and material progress and development. And it is major tool in the hands of the exploiters..whose interest lies in the status que.

Unfortunately, the Western political leadership have used the (Islamic) religion in the underdeveloped countries into their interest.. it was great dishonesty & myopic act at their part...I am sorry to say. Fighting is two pronged. One is which is being done in the forum of Atheist Nexus and other is political. In the West people have to realize that this globe can not be sharply divided into highly developed, enlightened and liberal way of life in islands.. and oceans of ignorance, repression, poverty around them...in this our so lovely earth. I use to say that the plant of religion grows in the land of poverty and ignorance... We need economic development. We need technological development. We need education. I want to send the message to my atheists fellows in the West, please play your role to change the conditions of the underdeveloped land of the this globe too..where is irrationality,ignorance, religion is ruling in full swing.. even it is becoming threatening to your life too... You must support democratic, secular and non believer forces in the Third World and especially Muslim countries... Though I am very pessimistic about my Muslim brotheren that they can ever be changed...but after all economic development and education can change them too..

I know about Taslima Nasreen. Really I feel pity about her. She is a great brave woman. We should all support her. She is currently living in India... but she is in miserable conditions... You might have not upto-date information about her. Please visit http://taslimanasrin.com/index2.html

Really I think myself very inferior in front of you. You are much much more learned than me. I am very happy by interacting with so learned person. I frequently visit Uk so may be one day I could meet you...
At 12:25am on January 12, 2009, Mike Haynes said…
Thanks for the welcome. It's good to be here.
At 5:41pm on January 11, 2009, Raven said…
Thanks Dr. for welcoming me. Yes, I'd like to get to know some people so I'll probaly get involved in the chat process...Raven
At 12:56pm on January 11, 2009, Doug Meyer said…
Thanks, Terry. Looking forward to a stimulating, interesting and informative experience.
At 12:37pm on January 11, 2009, Roristix said…
Thanks for the welcome! I always enjoy a good, intelligent conversation without the dogma. (Of course, those two things- intelligence and dogma- are mutually exclusive, I think.)
At 12:18pm on January 11, 2009, mcs said…
Thanks for the welcome! The origins of life has been of tremendous interest to me lately, I'll definitely be checking out the group.
At 11:19am on January 11, 2009, spoonbender said…
Thanks for making me feel welcome! I was born and raised in a small Boston suburb which is like 90% Catholic. I attended CCD at age 13. The more I learned, the less I believed. After a few months, my parents allowed me follow my own journey of self discovery. At 41, I'm still learning. I hope to make some friends and engage in intelligent conversations about the past, present and future that are not occluded by religious dogma.
At 11:14am on January 11, 2009, sunshinegirlie said…
Thank you for the welcome!
At 10:29am on January 11, 2009, Marc Draco said…
OK me fellow limey! I'm added to the group.
At 1:26pm on January 10, 2009, Paul Markowski said…
I'm not sure, but didn't Martin Luther believe that his dog was going to heaven?
At 12:00pm on January 9, 2009, Dr. Terence Meaden said…
To Arshad, you are to be congratulated on your well-expressed writing in English and your accurate understanding of religion and the horrors it can and does commit. You are right to say that in the west holding discussions about atheism and theism can look like “a playful intellectual matter” in the sense that it is not dangerous to life; and to say, by contrast, that “when religion is politicized, it turns into a monster ... a direct threat to human civilization process”. One laments how this has come about, in which the brains of religious fanatics operate at such a low level of intelligence whether christian or muslim. And still worse, that Mohammed was likely no more than a smart epileptic, having visions during his fits of near-unconsciousness, and that he and his followers succeeded in fitting his narrow knowledge of a patriarchal desert world into a grander scheme that became a fighting desert religion.

You then say: “I salute to the Western thinkers who have given light to all human beings. The whole literature and whole knowledge is coming from West. It has been a question, how Western mind became curious, logical, pluralistic, and why so called "South" Third World remained intellectually primitive minded... While before few hundred years, Western nations were also in the same conditions.”

Yes, the evil establishment that was pope-led christianity and protestant christianity in medieval times suppressed independent thought for centuries, although gradually a few brave thinkers made small breakthroughs. One of the turning points was the establishment of the Royal Society in Britain in the seventeenth century, supported by the curiosity of the king. Simultaneously, and earlier too, some great minds were at work in France, Germany and Italy, etc. Advances were being made in many sciences, but against some sciences (medicine, cosmology, geology, ‘ORIGINS’ generally) the church held firm. There was no progress in the Muslim countries, for most Muslim states were theocratic states. I need not go on. You know the story well.

I end this brief note by appending a little good news, about the brave Taslima Nasreen. I expect you know this already.

"France comes to the rescue of Taslima Nasreen "

National Secular Society Honorary Associate Taslima Nasreen is to live in Paris, it has been reported. The Bangladeshi writer has been under threat of death from Islamist extremists who accuse her of blasphemy in her writings.

Municipal authorities in Paris will provide her with a large studio in an artists' residence in the French capital, and initially pay her rent. Nasreen, who was made an honorary citizen of Paris in July 2008, put in an application for housing six weeks ago.

"You are at home here, in the city where it was proclaimed that men are born and remain free and equal and nobody can be condemned for their beliefs," Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said when she was given honorary citizenship.
At 6:51am on January 9, 2009, Mateus Rambo said…
Thanks for the welcome.
At 4:18am on January 9, 2009, Arshad said…
Thanks for welcome. I am feeling very great to come amongst so rational, enlightened and scientific minded people. Certainly here is lot to share and lot to learn. I have collected your writings and enriching my mind by reading them. You are right to say people like me from underdeveloped and especially Muslim environment are living in "difficult" time. Here is a sea of ignorance, superstition, irrationality, fanaticism... and above all when religion becomes politicized, then, it turn into a monster.. a direct threat to human civilization process...

To be atheist in developed countries is look like a playful intellectual matter.... but to be atheist in economically, socially, and mentally retarded society...is a uphill task.. dare to live among the blinds.. those simply refuse to listen any rational.logic and objective point of view... State, law and society also there to protect and supporting them... Anyway, I believe that the power of science is so great that nobody and no nation how behind is in the process of knowledge, can ultimately afford to refuse to accept the science..and its technological miracles.

I salute to the Western thinkers who have given light to all human beings. The whole literature and whole knowledge is coming from West...It has been a question.. how Western mind became curious, logical, pluralistic, and why so called "South" Third world remained intellectually primitive minded... While before few hundred years, Western nations were also in the same conditions..

I will certainly join the groups recommended by you and participate int the discussions..

You are contributing a great to rational thinking.
At 11:26am on January 8, 2009, marie said…
Thanks for the welcome. I'll be sure to check out your group - sharp commentary is such a welcome change on the internet. :)
At 10:24am on January 8, 2009, Brent said…
Thanks for the welcome. The "Origins" forum sounds nice. I also have an interest in archaeology and anthropology (primarily of the origins of religion). I enjoy some of the literature from the end of the Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth, such as JG Frazer's Golden Bough and Grant Allen's The Evolution of the Idea of God, despite some of their dated terminology. On a side note, I'm sure you've seen the news concerning the Third Century Roman battle site near Hanover.
At 6:17am on January 8, 2009, Offreality said…
Thanks for the welcome....looks like these posts are worth a read or two...exciting to see what this young forum holds...

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