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Religion and discrimination of Atheism


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I had a very hard weekend which has made me look at my mortality.

 

I was baptised and brought up strictly Christian, even to the point of attending Sunday school every Sunday till I was 9. 

 

However I rebelled against being "forced" into something that I consider has been responsible for most wars and strife in our world. Something that I, personally, just couldn't "sign up to", something I just don't believe in, no matter how strong my families belief.

 

I know it is a point of contention and something people are passionate about (so much so that I can't ever remember a topic on this before).

 

But then I read this BBC article about US Atheists and how they are considered a "minority", 2% I believe. They are considered "Less trust worthy than a Rapist" and kids are even spat on at school for being openly atheist.

 

Here in the UK I am sure it's a much bigger %.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-28616115

 

So, back to my original thought. After a tough weekend making me look at my mortality (even more so than when I was diagnosed with Cancer), I still haven't "reverted" back to religion. All of my body (and possibly indoctrination from when I was young) says I should but my logic mind won't let me.

 

I was wondering if I am in a minority of 1 or whether many people of my generation feel the same?

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All religions are simply a manifestation of the Big Thumb pressing on the back of your neck. They exist purely for the self aggrandisement of those who have elected themselves to the position of Great

Strong religious belief IMHO makes you more "Conservative" in your thinking. Less able to change your view if it is other than what you are told.   I know religious people who, likewise, think that

OK, I can't stand it anymore.  I'm going to chime in on this topic, despite already knowing there are rarely any winners in the end of a religious debate.     First, let's talk about the USA. Having

I guess it depends on which generation you are as to whether you are in a minority or not.

But I don't think you can say that Christianity is responsible for most wars etc. maybe it would be more accurate to say that many wars are started by people in the name of a religion rather than the religion itself being blamed. As far as I know no religion condones war or aggressive behaviour.

When it comes to logic, remember religion is driven by faith not proof. Those who follow a religion do not need proof, they accept it's teachings and lifestyle.

For myself, I am not a devout Christian but I probably lead me life along the lines taught by Christians, ie do unto others etc.. I neither believe or disbelieve since there are forces in life that we still don't understand and probably never will

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I agree with your comment on "started in the name of religion" Brian.

 

I am 46 so my generation is "born in the 60's and 70's".

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As far as I know no religion condones war or aggressive behaviour.

Not exactly accurate - but this depends on whether you interpret promoted actions as excessive or violent. But being on the receiving end of what certain faiths preach in their scripture you'd be hard pressed to support the above comment.

 

I also read that article about Atheism in the USA - the shocking fact is that there is no form of legal protection available to Atheists in - no provisions exist. Which is tragic.

 

Another issue they'll have to combat is the indoctrination of the populace - you saw the comment - You say Atheism, and out pop retorts accusing one of Marxism, Bolshevism, being a Soviet Spy (in 2014, really?) or just being plain ol' Russian, and therefore evil.

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I don't believe or follow any man made religion, but I do have beliefs that place me in the real minority, such as Karma and also reincarnation.

 

I would, however, like to know where God was before the Big Bang?

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All religions are simply a manifestation of the Big Thumb pressing on the back of your neck. They exist purely for the self aggrandisement of those who have elected themselves to the position of Great Panjandrum or whatever their particular mob might call it. ( A bit like politics, perhaps?) Their entire ethos can be expressed in a few words..."Do what you're told and don't ask questions". "Followers" are told to "believe" in whatever pronouncements the upper echelon see fit to expound. They all have a Book of MumboJumbo which they tell you is the Real Word of God.

 

Oh yes....and every one of them is the one true religion and only they know the truth!!

 

Total tosh.

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Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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Odd isn't it? If religions are meant to be full of benevolent souls that only wish good for their fellow man, why do some persecute those that choose not to believe? Or those that believe, but in something different?

Shouldn't a truly religious soul feel compassion for those that choose not to believe?

 

I have met Christians who aren't and I have met people who don't call themselves Christian but exhibit many more of the espoused traits of (insert whichever word you wish here to describe the religious person)

 

I was rebaptised as an adult. Do I practice in the establishment? No.

Do I like to think that I behave in a way that I would like to see others behave? I hope so.

 

But I am certainly not perfect.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

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Roger, god lit the fuse and ran away

 

Kimbers I think on ITV player there is a program called how Christian is Britain, it was on telly about a week ago. There was a good academic who debunked loads of myths about what we view as Christians in Britain and what they do today vs in the past.

 

www.itv.com/news/2014-07-24/tonight-is-britain-christian

 

https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/tonight/series-19/episode-19-is-britain-christian-

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I have served in a number of war zones, so ill comment from the perspective of religious thoughts by people in a war, rather than religion starting wars. It's a perspective.

I have observed that people with faith in religion have had a couple of advantages. One is that when the whole FUBAR of war doesn't make sense by our leaders, Gov etc, it can be rationalised that it is (their) God's will - fate, as such. This allows people to function, to do their important role in combat. Without this, we are lost.

Secondly, the ability to rationalise the horrors of conflict in you own head has been shown to directly reduce PDST. Having seen so much of this affect so many, maybe those with faith are better protected, maybe their faith is actually working? I would presume emergency services people would have similar.

I have however met some people who war has destroyed their faith, but less numbers.

Just thoughts.

Iain.

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Ooooh, boy! How to discuss this topic without stepping on too many toes. Tres difficile, non? 

 

I was raised as a Catholic, and received all the appropriate indoctrinations via several years of parochial schooling, and childhood sacraments at the requisite ages. One parent was "devout," the other considerably more of a freethinker, though quiet about it. Attending university later on was an eye opening experience in so many ways. I had three Jewish roommates my first year. 

 

At any rate, exposure to diverse "world views" from a cornucopia of personalities caused me to question (or, should I say, question even more) the belief system I had been inculcated with. Additionally, the study of various scientific disciplines as part of obtaining a degree strongly brought home the fact that devine intervention in the workings of the universe were a rather superfluous explanation to understanding the mechanics of the cosmos. Though a complete understanding is many years away, the path to it is clearly defined. It is called "science," and it is a self-correcting system, unlike dogmatic religious tenets. And being dogmatic, religions of multiple persuasions all claim to be "the one true way," beholden to "the one true god." This, of course, is the ultimate "conversation stopper," all rational discussion being rendered nonviable. They cannot all be right.

 

And then there is the problem of "the afterlife."  Immediately the question must be raised (though it seldom is), if "life everlasting" is such a good thing, why waste even one more moment in this "veil of tears" we currently reside in? Why even take the chance that one might "fall from grace" and risk losing the chance for a prime spot in "heaven?" Logic would dictate that passage to that glorious nirvana, through death, ought not be delayed for even a moment. Yet we do not see mass suicides amongst the believers. Can it be that the evolutionarily derived desire to stay alive trumps religious belief?

 

There are almost endless contradictions to be found in any religion. Many eloquent tomes are readily available that discuss them in much greater detail, written by authors who have spent a great deal of time pondering the subject. A few may occasionally contain vitriolic passages, but, for the most part, the "chapters and verse" presented are quiet appeals to a reasonable and balanced view of the world, and our place in it.

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Put simply, the fear of God keeps the world population in check.

 

If we didn't have a God then there would be no wars, the defence industry would fold and the worlds population would increase at a more alarming rate.  On the plus side, countries would have a few extra trillion$ to feed back into their economies, and everyone would be happy in the world.

 

Gods are merely fictitious characters from the dark ages that were created to keep the peasants in check.  But I'm okay with this because according to the latest global Census I have joined one of the fastest growing religions in the world today. May the Force be with you. :smoke: 

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Any comments from the other side of the argument?

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Well, at least one reply alluded to a facet of religion that does have some value...the ability of "belief" to make one's capacity to function "under fire" a bit easier. Unfortunately that same effect is equally influential on the strongly motivated suicide bomber, now so prevalent in various global arenas. 

 

I have a good friend who, late in life, became (to use today's parlance) "born again." He has raised his whole family in like manner, and seems to be the happier for it. But he has had to abandon all acknowledgement of the findings of hard science. For example, he truly believes that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and all the defective reasoning required to buy into the concept. This from a West Point graduate possessing a keen mind in other regards.

 

The question thus becomes: Is strong religious belief (or at least belief strong enough to raise one's happiness level) a sufficient trade off for entering into a state of denial concerning the findings of empirical science?

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Strong religious belief IMHO makes you more "Conservative" in your thinking. Less able to change your view if it is other than what you are told.

 

I know religious people who, likewise, think that the earth is 6000 years old and that dinosaur bones were put there by god to test us. Their teenage daughter also told my son (who is the same age) that children were a gift from god and nothing to do with human interaction....................and pregnant in 3.........2........1........

 

Some things I am just "meh" about but some things really get to me as an Ex-religious child.

 

1. 3rd world contraception. The simple answer to over population on land not suitable for farming, HIV and other diseases etc. Yet the Pope time and time again refuses to even consider it.

2. The massive wealth of the churches in the world. If they practiced what they preached surely they would give it all away?

3. Sexism in the Church. We are all equal, except women who can't be ordained.

4. How much history has been re-written? Was Mary Magdalen Christs wife as it's now thought but was written out to keep him "pure". What really happened to the Templars, were they destroyed just to take their money? etc etc.

5. Religious persecution of anyone who doesn't agree with their view (both in history and even now).

 

I could go on but I have to go out for a while.

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Church's have a bit of a rep nowadays for old men having access to young boys too. I'm sure I posted up recently that the pope thinks 2% of all vicars or whatever they're called are up to no good. That's 1 in 50, that's a huge amount and no coincidence.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28282050

 

IMHO that's enough reason to close down religion, full stop. Imagine if another organisation said that; the cops, the council? A private company? There would be pitchforks and hangings! 

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Religion doesn't cause wars, individuals use of religion for their own means does.

I was brought up a Christian, I never attended Church until we happened to go one Christmas for the Nativity (I'd be about 33). We enjoyed it and became regular Church goers and very active in Church life. I was even elected a member of the local Parochial Church Council. As the kids got older and the old Vicar (who was a top bloke) retired we stopped going and haven't been for around three years.

I really enjoyed the Church and friends we made there but I have to consider myself a non believer.

I've seen a great deal of suffering, I've seen good people suffer horrible lives and this along with me being essentially a scientist means I cannot believe in some being out there who controls everything (unless it's Bernie Eccelstone).

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Yup, count me in as a non-believer; I went to Sunday School (looking back, good way for parents to get me out of their way) and got good marks in Religious Education but it has just never occurred to me to believe in a God (although Jesus seems to have been a thoroughly decent sort of chap).

We would all get on just as well without religion, whilst adhering to a broadly Christian moral code (ie be nice, don`t kill people, always look on the bright side of life etc - oh, was that last one it ?! I forget...).

My only small gripe is that  Professor Dawkins-a committed Atheist and rightly so - has also railed against fairy tales and horoscopes-as though there is a church of Rumpelstiltskin or of Mystic Meg. Its over-egging the pudding. He would have helped the argument by sticking to reviling organised Religion as we know it.

....and the stick Atheists get in America is just vile.  Logically you`d think they would be pitied not hated , (losing the chance of going to heaven etc) - but the hostility to them  tells you all you need to know about human nature notwithstanding homilies about "loving thy neighbour").       

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One of the things that always amazes me about the Catholics is that they seem to be selective about their belief. They regard the Pope as God's Representative on Earth...and his word as the authentic Word of God. He says contraception is wrong (apart from the Rhythm Method, it seems...women who use this have a special designation in the medical profession...they call them mothers...) so no Catholics are allowed to use physical forms of birth control.

 

Italy, a Catholic country, has a falling birth rate with the death rate exceeding the rate of live births. Something has to be wrong there.....! Truly, a Prophet has no honour in his own country.....

 

I suppose that's why they have confession..... 

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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Good old religion, they're crucifying each other now in Syria...

 

http://www.vieinter.com/themiddleeast/isis-crucifies-8-christians-in-syria-for-apostasy-from-islam/

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:lol:

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Going back to Kimbers' original post, when I was in the States I definitely felt that the church had more influence.  Even in California, my wife got an odd look from a neighbour who asked which church we attended and was told "none."  In North Carolina, it was definitely a big thing with NASCAR teams having bible study classes once a week and billboards telling you to repent or burn in hell and so on.  In the east and mid-west, I never made a thing about being atheist, not because I thought I would get assaulted or expelled but I thought it might make some people uncomfortable around me.

 

Having said that, there is a very vocal atheist sector who is busy suing councils for failing to keep church and state separate and to overturn school boards rulings to teach creation or intelligent design as an alternative argument to evolution.  Public figures such as the illusionist Penn & Teller and the creators of South Park and those of Family Guy have been vocal about their non-belief without being shunned.

 

I think the strength of the Christian churches in America comes from two things.  Setting across that forbidding territory in the 1800's you would need to feel you had someone on your side, even if it was a mythical being and that faith has become ingrained in many cultures in the States.  Secondly, the separation of church and state means the churches have to stand on their own two feet, so to speak, and so they make a big effort to get strong and get support.

 

Regarding whether religion causes wars or not, I see being a member of a particular religion as being like belonging to a tribe or gang and the wars are really over which gang gets the land or the most power.  Mind you, doesn't the Koran call for the killing of non-believers and there are parts of the Old Testament calling for the enemies and non-believers to be killed and the women raped and the children turned into slaves or suchlike.

 

Religion seems to be something that some people believe in, others pretend to believe in to fit in and something others despise and despair of.  I would prefer for there to be none but some people would just come up with something new to replace it.  Scientology, anyone?  Now, how could you fall for that?

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It is interesting how the biggest and most organised attempts to positively stifle religion so far, have notably  failed. Stalin`s USSR did the most historically  to suppress it ..until he realised that he needed the Orthodox Church`s support to hold up public morale duting the nazi invasion, to the extent that the church described him as "appointed by God" to lead the country!

The origin of the antipathy between Stalinist Communism-the conception that has largely informed world politics from 1917-1989 years and religion stemmed from Marx`s famous comment about it being the "opium of the people" . But Marx prefaced that comment with "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, the soul of soulless conditions...." explanatory rather than hostile. It would be interesting to apply those words to the modern USA  where attainable dreams maybe fail to compensate for the lack of social security or cohesion and religion steps in . Food for thought....    

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OK, I can't stand it anymore.  I'm going to chime in on this topic, despite already knowing there are rarely any winners in the end of a religious debate.  

  First, let's talk about the USA. Having lived in the USA my whole life, and in many different states within, I would like to think I have a fairly realistic view to present on the USA front.  The sad truth is, some portions of the USA are just as bad and as ignorant as that report makes it sound.  Known as the "deep bible-belt", there are some areas within it where they still believe God is better than hospitals and if you die it was his will.  Feeding the poor is interfering with God's plan for them to go hungry, etc.  To not believe and announcing it is to risk your health. 

  But each of the 50 states is like a different country.  You really can not judge them all on the actions of small areas of a few.  In some states you don't pay any income tax, in others you don't pay sales tax, its just an inconsistent mess.  The diversity and conservatism of religion is just as varied.  Further more, the cultural difference between the rural areas and the big cities within each state is just as huge and usually hundreds of miles apart from each other.   So this article fails to mention that "it depends on where you are".

 

I believe the separation of church and state is absolutely critical.  However, seeing as how our currency says "in God we trust" and always has, I'm not sure it has ever been implemented and enforced properly.  This is largely from the political trend our government officials have to go "all in" on a knee-jerk reaction.  Making a decision that is so one sided it misses the point.  The example I will give is public schools.  In the bible-belt you can bet every class and sporting event starts with a prayer.  At a Federal level they have decided to ban prayer in public schools.  The bible-belt just does it anyway.  So is the law enforced?  Nope.  not really.  because in the bible-belt the parents, teachers and law enforcement are all in agreement with it.   Is the law correct?  Nope.  It should simply say that the federally funded public school can't tell you "to whom you should pray too."  If the culture is to start events with a moment of silence, fine, but you should be able to use it spiritually if you like, in a Christian way if you like, or just to provide respect to the event at hand.

 

Our current debate over creationism vs. evolutionism is almost beyond me.  Should the textbooks tell the kids they came from God or big bang primordial ooze.?  We weren't there.  We don't know.  Take it out of the textbooks completely and instead teach something that will actually get the kids a job someday so they can feed themselves.  This is becoming a major political item and I CAN NOT believe it is so high on everyone's priority list.  I'm not saying believe or don't believe, I'm saying there are more immediate and pressing matters that affect the operations of the country.

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