I can't really stand it when Tom discusses atheism/agnosticism

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I am a regular Thom Hartmann listener and I love the guy. I even tried to get seats to the Bill Maher show recently just to see him live. However, I feel like I am on my last nerve when it comes to his views on atheists and agnostics. Not because he believes that atheism is a religion (which is still offensive), but because he seems to undermine the struggle that some atheists have to face in their daily lives. I was unable to obtain a transcript of his short 2 - 3 sentence quote today (December 13, 2011) on atheism, so let me paraphrase. He was discussing the Muslim fear exhibited by Americans and how certain minorities are feared/hated throughout our country. Thereafter, he listed a number of minorities and he included atheism. But when he came to atheism, he snickered as if to mock it, and pointed out that atheism is a religion due to our minority categorization. I wasn't bothered by the fact that he continues to believe people like me (atheist) are religious, but I WAS bothered because he seemed to mock the fact that we consider ourselves a minority and are sometimes discriminated against.

I am from California, which most would consider a liberal open minded state due to it's diversity, but I have been discriminated against in the past simply because I am without a god. For instance, while attending UCLA, I was taking a break from studies and headed to Westwood to Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion away from campus. I was so into my book that I had not noticed a man approaching me. By the time I DID notice, it was too late. He had already spat at my face and had begun screaming and shouting words like "ungoldly", "wicked", "satan worship", "heathen", "hell" and "evil." And there I was. Twenty one years old, terrified and confused. And then he was gone. This is merely one example of what I have to deal with and why some atheists resort to "staying in the closet." Nowadays, I still find myself unconsciously hiding certain books while being out in public. And I feel that people like Thom Hartmann, who choose to ignore the fact that we too are discriminated against, aggravate the problem. We are one of the most hated groups in the United States. Never will our nation be able to look beyond our atheism. If you doubt it, then ask yourself if America is ready for an openly atheist president. I am a latin-american atheist/agnostic woman, and the only part of me that has caused me grief and has brought me pain, is my atheism/agnosticism.

And in regards to atheism being a religion.... you are definitely bonkers. First of all, this morning you also said that atheists knock on your door to convert you. I really doubt that. And even if it is true, it still wouldn't be grounds enough to classify it a religion. If NOT believing in something makes you religious, then you and I and everyone else in the world has just gained a multitude of religions. By your standards Thom, not believing in fairies, dragons, santa clause, tooth fairy, easter bunny, FSM, unicords and mermaids would also be religions. Come on Thom!

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Comments

My sentiments, exactly.

But Thom doesn't get it, so we'll just have to accept this as his atheist delusion.

I

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

You can't expect to agree with everything Thom says, can you? There must be a few other things you disagree with as well. It's not like Thom spit on you, like the other awful person you mentioned. This subject has been discussed at length many times over on this site, if you care to search for it.

I can't speak for Thom, but it seems like he categorizes atheism as religion in order to provide it equal footing to religion when discussing it. Perhaps that's not the best way to do it? I would say it is obvious that atheism is not a religion, but I would expect some atheists might get upset by any particular definition a religious person might attach to it, just like many atheist's definition of religion might appear to a religious person.

I would not expect an openly atheistic person to be elected president anytime soon. We just got a black guy and have yet to have a woman. Just watch what will happen to the Mormon front-runner in the GOP primary. Baby steps.

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FYI: Of course I don't expect to agree with him on everything, and in fact i don't. That is not my point. I don't expect him (a religious man) to agree with me on atheism. I don't expect him to embrace my beliefs either. I just thought that, being the intelligent man that he is, he would accept it and appropriately deem it as a group that deals with discrimination on a regular basis. This morning, Thom scoffed at the thought of atheism being listed alongside other minorities.

I am sure this subject has been discussed many times before, just like many other subjects on this site, but I was specifically talking about his December 13, 2011 discussion. I apologize if I broke some sort of cardinal rule, and instead, should have posted a commment into an already exhausted topic of a few months back. It was unintentionally done. I'm a newbie.

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No, you broke no rule I am aware of. I was merely pointing that out, just in case you didn't get much feedback. This similar response seems to happen whenever Thom mentions atheism. I do find it funny how Thom seems to be trying to be inclusive of atheists into religious discussions and manages to irritate atheists every time he does. Perhaps he needs to take a different approach?

I have found myself unconsciously (or not) hiding religious books I may be reading at any given time, just as you have with atheist books. I've always felt doing so called into question my faith (or lack thereof). Although I've never been spit on for doing so, I have felt a skeptical glance or two. That probably says more about how I see myself than how others do.

I suppose someone's faith is just a susceptible as someone's lack of faith to scrutiny from the outside world. Someone can always fall out of faith or into it as well at any given moment. I don't mind discussing these things regardless of how many times I have before. There's always new ground that can be covered when someone offers up a fresh perspective.

You should find no shortage of people here at this site expressing that same sentiment as your original post. Welcome CeciAtea.

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The fact that someone of faith is susceptible to the scrutiny of others is obvious. That was the whole point of Thom Hartmann's discussion this morning about the hatred/fear of muslims. And as you've rightly mentioned in your previous comment, the christian right's attacks geared towards Mitt Romney just for being a mormon were uncalled for. I was outraged. I was outraged for a mormon's misfortune. It's funny how atheists are usually thought of as immoral and uncompassionate, but I have never met an atheist that would be unwilling to argue/fight for someone's freedom to be religious. However, I have yet to meet a religious person agreeing that my freedom FROM religion should also be protected. I have seen religious people protecting religious people of other faiths (ie: christian Egyptians linking hands to protect praying muslims from police abuse, which was wonderful), but my right to be an atheist/agnostic/etcs is a battle atheists/agnostics/etcs will have to continue fighting alone.

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I think Thom has good philosophical grounds to call atheism a religion. Instead of re-posting, here is the link to my comment.

http://www.thomhartmann.com/bigpicture/hartmann-should-campuses-recognize-atheism-religion

Ah...I didn't know Chris Hedges wrote this book until just now When Atheism Becomes Religion: America's New Fundamentalists . And I thought I was being too hard on Sam Harris. Now I get it. Okay. It's a set up. I was wondering why the melodrama and fierce arguments from an 'atheistic' movement was popping up. How dishonest.

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Yea, I turn off the show if he mentions atheists. I dont hold it against him too much though. We all have our hangups.

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Quote Antifascist:

I think Thom has good philosophical grounds to call atheism a religion. Instead of re-posting, here is the link to my comment.

http://www.thomhartmann.com/bigpicture/hartmann-should-campuses-recognize-atheism-religion

Ah...I didn't know Chris Hedges wrote this book until just now When Atheism Becomes Religion: America's New Fundamentalists . And I thought I was being too hard on Sam Harris. Now I get it. Okay. It's a set up. I was wondering why the melodrama and fierce arguments from an 'atheistic' movement was popping up. How dishonest.

Philosophy and religion overlap so much, that I'd call them inseparable. Thom's philosophical grounds are sound, but I'll stop short of passing judgement on the motives of the "atheistic movement". There is something to the fact that so many atheists get bent out of shape with Thom's "atheism as religion" stance, while people of faith don't seem to complain about the same concept.

What if Thom had the same stance of equating atheism and religion, BUT he came down on the other side as his personal beliefs. If Thom claimed to be an atheist while calling atheism a religion, I suppose I might be the one bitching and moaning about it. I've always assumed it had more to do with the assumption by some people who feel that liberals shouldn't be religious. Perhaps as a general liberal dogma or perhaps a reactive response to the Religious Right.

Maybe Antifascist has a point about the movement, but Isn't there room under the Big Democratic Tent for both? Are atheists just as unhappy with Thom when he uses Jesus and the Bible as a reference to not only point out hypocrisy on the Right, but to help point the proper direction for the Left?

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If Thom claimed to be an atheist while calling atheism a religion, I suppose I might be the one bitching and moaning about it.

Well, actually Thom has pointed out that some of the world's religions are atheistic, that is to say, some religions are non-theistic (nonbelief in a personal g-d) because they believe theism is merely anthropormorphism.(Greek: anthropos as in anthopology and morphism as in form, or human form. So that's Thom first problem with the atheists--he doesn't have a five-year-old child's concept of a personal g-d.

The second problem is the word "religion". Most atheists that I have talked to view religion as pure superstition and illusion based on their world view of solipsistic naive realism in the schools of materialistic empiricism (college students really got bad) which is harder to hold these days of quantum physics. So for some atheists "religion" means "institution" or "cult" and they are not too far off the mark. On the other hand, Thom and many others, view religion as "spirituality" showing that the atheists just don't get it. By Thom saying "Atheism is a religion" the atheists show their naivete by getting so upset and proving that many fundamentalist atheists are hardly any different than fundamentalist theists--they exist on the same plain because both are absurdly arguing about g-d's zip code. Thom and Hedges are making the same point about fundamentalism. It's kinda of funny really. I hope they don't mind me explaining the joke. So I think you, Laborisgood, picked up on the underlying complexity.

Chapter 4: The Holy -- the Absolute and the Relative in Religion

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Was Antifascist's quote (quote box, below) meant to imply that atheism is a philosophy now too ("scientific philosopher"), to give credence to Thom's assertion that atheism is a religion? I'm not sure I get the point.

In any case, assuming he meant to imply such, may I remind you that religion falls within the mythos category of human consciousness, but science does not—science is logos, i.e., what Karen Armstrong said: "Logos was equally important. Logos was the rational, pragmatic, and scientific thought that enabled men and women to function well in the world. We may have lost the sense of mythos in the West today, but we are very familiar with logos, which is the basis of our society. Unlike myth, logos must relate exactly to facts and correspond to external realities if it is to be effective. It must work efficiently in the mundane world. We use this logical, discursive reasoning when we have to make things happen, get something done, or persuade other people to adopt a particular course of action. Logos is practical. Unlike myth, which looks back to the beginnings and to the foundations, logos forges ahead and tries to find something new: to elaborate on old insights, achieve a greater control over our environment, discover something fresh, and invent something novel."

Not all atheists are scientists; most simply don't do religion, or god. But even scientists don't sit around philosophizing about the absense of a god. It's like this, recalling my favorite response to the notion of atheism being a religion: Atheism is no more a religion than NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.

In short, religion is mythos; atheism is logos. Got it?

The philosopher, like the theologian, "exists," and he cannot jump over the concreteness of his existence and his implicit theology. He is conditioned by his psychological, sociological, and historical situation. And like every human being, he exists in the power of an ultimate concern, whether or not he is fully conscious of it, whether or not he admits it to himself and to others. There is no reason why even the most scientific philosopher should not admit it, for without an ultimate concern his philosophy would be lacking in passion, seriousness, and creativity....Every creative philosopher is a hidden theologian (sometimes even a declared theologian). He is a theologian in the degree to which his existential situation and his ultimate concern shape his philosophical vision. He is a theologian in the degree to which his existential situation, and his ultimate concern shape his intuition of the universal logos of the structure of reality as a whole is formed by a particular logos which appears to him on his particular place and reveals to him the meaning of the whole. And he is a theologian in the degree to which the particular logos is a matter of active commitment within a special community. There is hardly a historically significant philosopher who does not show the marks of a theologian. He wants to serve the universal logos. He tries to turn away from his existential situation, including his ultimate concern, toward a place above all particular places, toward pure reality. The conflict between the intention of becoming universal and the destiny of remaining particular characterizes every philosophical existence. It is its burden and its greatness. (Tillich, Paul. Systematic Theology Vol. I. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1951, 1957 & 1963. page 24-25.).

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Thom's point is - if you have an ism you believe in - that's fine - just don't come knocking on anyone's door saying you're way is the right way & come on over. That's call evangelical no matter what ism is involved.

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I have to assume, Louise, you mean "knocking on anyone's door" in a metaphorical sense, because I don't know of any atheists who literally come knocking on doors to push their opinions on people.

In the metaphorical sense, though, Thom and your shows come "knocking on doors"—advertising the show, expressing Thom's philosophy and political beliefs, etc. Is Thom a religion? But, no, "Thom Hartmann" is not a religion—he only expresses his opinions and debates others, hoping to get his views across, which is exactly what atheists do, when they're included in a discussion or debate. To call such "evangelizing" is to make a false comparison, in my opinion; neither Thom nor atheists spread gospel, with all due respect for Thom's charisma and enlightenment.

Yes, atheists have been especially vocal lately, but then, so has Thom. ;-)

That the "ism" suffix appears at the end of a word does not mean it refers to philosophical doctrine; it may simply form an action noun, as in barbarism. Barbarism certainly isn't a religion, or a belief system, is it?

Quote Wikipedia:

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.

Often what atheists don't get, however, is mythos as a legitimate aspect of human experience.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

What was the science fiction short story where aliens were invading earth and as ploy to get rid of them they handed them a Bible and after a while the invasion stopped and the aliens started shooting at each other?

Religion to me has always seemed like some concocted mind control method probably developed eons ago by kings and advisors so they didn't have to keep policing the populace. Just tell 'em if they behaved bad they would go to some terrible place after they died.

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Quote CeciAtea:

It's funny how atheists are usually thought of as immoral and uncompassionate, but I have never met an atheist that would be unwilling to argue/fight for someone's freedom to be religious. However, I have yet to meet a religious person agreeing that my freedom FROM religion should also be protected. I have seen religious people protecting religious people of other faiths (ie: christian Egyptians linking hands to protect praying muslims from police abuse, which was wonderful), but my right to be an atheist/agnostic/etcs is a battle atheists/agnostics/etcs will have to continue fighting alone.

Morality and compassion are not wholly owned subsidiaries of organized religion. In fact many people involved in organized religion could prove that point by their actions.

I consider myself a religious person and I believe you are awarded freedom from religion via the US Constitution. Are you being forced to go to church or pray against your will? Our constitution is unique in it's ability to allow religion to fluorish as it does, while not taking sides in the debate. Atheist claims of persecution seem much like Fox News claims of a "War on Christmas".

I was moved deeply by the interfaith actions in Egypt as well. That is what we need more of in this world. I would expand that circle of brotherly love to include atheists as well as those of various faiths. You are not alone CeciAtea and your fight should not be directed specifically towards people of faith, but people who lack love and compassion for their fellow man.

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Zenzoe wrote and committed himself to the following arguments.

Was Antifascist's quote (quote box, below) meant to imply that atheism is a philosophy now too ("scientific philosopher"), to give credence to Thom's assertion that atheism is a religion?

Absolutely, you got it. You should of read the Tillich quote.

In any case, assuming he meant to imply such, may I remind you that religion falls within the mythos category of human consciousness, but science does not—science is logos...

Science absolutely falls in the category of mythos (post #21) and wrote 150,000 words arguing that point. You need to read more, espeacially about modern physics. Human consciousness involves both spheres of mythos and science (logos)...and by the way what school of science are you talking about?

Not all atheists are scientists; most simply don't do religion, or god.

I agree. That is why I am suspicious of all the whaling and gnashing of teeth by the "atheists" and yourself.

But even scientists don't sit around philosophizing about the absence of a god.

Of course they do. You still didn't read Tillich's argument. They do it in different terms.

It's like this, recalling my favorite response to the notion of atheism being a religion: Atheism is no more a religion than NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.

False analogy.

In short, religion is mythos; atheism is logos. Got it?

I got it: you don't know anything about science, philosophy, or religion. I hope you are embarrassed Zenzoe.

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Quote Antifascist:

Thom and Hedges are making the same point about fundamentalism. It's kinda of funny really. I hope they don't mind me explaining the joke. So I think you, Laborisgood, picked up on the underlying complexity.

If I've stumbled onto any underlying complexity, it is purely accidental. I'm not opposed to groping around in the darkness, when I have no light available. Complexity is not my strong suit. Please don't start any rumors.

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I bet four quatloos on the one with the funny hat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ummV28JepgA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=UJjscA9Zvcw

Oh I forgot, science fiction is "right wing."

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Quote Antifascist:

Zenzoe wrote and committed himself to the following arguments.

That's herself.

Quote Antifascist:

That is why I am suspicious of all the whaling and gnashing of teeth by the "atheists" and yourself.

That's wailing...

Quote Antifascist:

Of course they do. You still didn't read Tillich's argument. They do it in different terms.

Since when did Tillich become everyone's authority? And all this time I thought you were antifascist, i.e., anti-authoritarian.

Quote pro-authoritarian:

I hope you are embarrassed Zenzoe.

Not in the least. I stand by everything I said, including, "Atheism is no more a religion than NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." It's a perfectly good analogy, especially for those atheists who simply do not believe in a personal deity. If you want to pursue a discussion of whether angels dancing on the head of a pin transcends theology and atheism, go right ahead. I consider it a waste of time.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Laborisgood wrote: There is something to the fact that so many atheists get bent out of shape with Thom's "atheism as religion" stance, while people of faith don't seem to complain about the same concept.

Why would religious faithists get bent out of shape about atheism being referred to as religious? They invented this school of thought in the first place. I would argue that this "atheism is religion" argument exists only to defend religion by claiming that atheists fall in the same category, thus insinuating that it takes just as much religious faith NOT to believe as it does to believe. It serves to derail the argument and shifts focus to something other than the lack of evidence for religion, thereby preventing burden of proof questions from being raised. Placing atheism in the same level playing field is the goal.

Laborisgood wrote: What if Thom had the same stance of equating atheism and religion, BUT he came down on the other side as his personal beliefs. If Thom claimed to be an atheist while calling atheism a religion, I suppose I might be the one bitching and moaning about it.

Why? Why would your stance differ just because Thom's personal beliefs changed from believer to non-believer, but still insisted that atheism is religion? You're making an unsound assumption by saying we would not "bitch and moan" if he were an atheist but still made this claim. Nothing at all would change. The fact of the matter is, atheism is NOT a religion. I do not care who says it, it would not change my views. Why would it change yours?

Laborisgood wrote: I've always assumed it had more to do with the assumption by some people who feel that liberals shouldn't be religious. Perhaps as a general liberal dogma or perhaps a reactive response to the Religious Right.

Again, another extraordinary assumption presented by you (and by 'some people'...weird way of constructing this sentence). An overwhelming majority of atheists may be liberal/progressive/leftists, but this doesn't necessarily mean that liberals are expected to be atheist. Theism continues to be the dominant position across the political spectrum. Considering 89% of the U.S. population is theistic, I'd say your assumption (and the assumption by some people) is a bit of a stretch and a bit of a stereotype. Even if you account for all the closeted atheists/agnostics, it's still a stretch.

I guess anyone can take a single definition of a word and twist it in such a way to reinforce their argument, but let's not fool ourselves. Atheism is a disbelief in god. It could considered a belief, but it is definitely not religious in nature. Once again, most of us disbelieve in things like fairies, the flying spaghetti monster, unicorns, dragons, the boogeyman, hercules/poseidon/zeus, mermaids, santa clause, toothfairy and the easter bunny. By Thom's standards it looks as though we've just added about 10 religions to our collection!

Atheism is merely the rejection of a positive claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Furthermore, atheism is more congruent with science than with religion. Atheism is objective. Religion is subjective. And as we all know, science is not stationary. It is constantly changing, advancing and modifying itself according to new discoveries and new scientific ideas. It is open-minded. If needed, it may revoke prior claims in light of new evidence. It is pliable. Religion, on the other hand, is capricious. It comes up with answers first, and then goes back to cherry pick bits and pieces to "back up" their biased and baseless solutions. Science, on the other hand, makes a conclusion AFTER it has gathered evidence and data, research, tested it, re-tested it and does everything all over again. To make it easier, Science is A+B=C; Religion is C=A+B. Big Difference!

Furthermore, if belief in a supreme being who created everything is the same as, say, believing a sturdy chair will hold your weight or believing a glass will hold water, then yes, atheism is a religion. But are all assertions/beliefs 'supreme' acts of faith? (Hint: religion?)

Religion, whether man made or divine, has always served to relieve and soothe against the fear of the unknown. It reacts by creating "fairy tales" and wishful thinking. On the other hand, atheism embraces the unknown. It is defined as the "disbelief in god(s)" which to me sounds like it could be a temporary state. Like science, all it requires is the adequate proof.

If there ever came a time whereby the existence of a supernatural being proven beyond a reasonable doubt (ie: if the big guy himself came knocking on my door and somehow proved his miraculous self to me), I wouldn't deny it. But as of now, I am in disbelief of a god(s), just like i am in disbelief of the toothfairy.

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Laborisgood wrote: You are not alone CeciAtea and your fight should not be directed specifically towards people of faith, but people who lack love and compassion for their fellow man.

Agreed

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Quote CeciAtea:

Laborisgood wrote: You are not alone CeciAtea and your fight should not be directed specifically towards people of faith, but people who lack love and compassion for their fellow man.

Agreed

I'm glad we've found some common ground. We have more in common than not, in spite of all the scientifically unproven ideas rattling around in my head. Antifascist brought up an interesting point about non-deist religions that really says more about this issue than any other part of the discussion. When the discussion deteriorates into an argument solely about the existence of a deity, it loses it's focus on how atheism is related to religion, in spite of it's antithetical stance to religion itself.

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Ceci, I don't know if you saw Thom's recent interview with atheist Prof. Richard Dawkins, but here it is, and I dare anyone to assert Dawkins is evangelizing a religious doctrine of any kind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEzZtNybTH0 Also, notice how Thom avoids telling the professor he thinks atheism is a religion. I wish he had. I would love to see Dawkins put that one to rest.

Zenzoe
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Laborisgood wrote: Antifascist brought up an interesting point about non-deist religions that really says more about this issue than any other part of the discussion. When the discussion deteriorates into an argument solely about the existence of a deity, it loses it's focus on how atheism is related to religion, in spite of it's antithetical stance to religion itself.

The reason I didn't respond to antifascist's arguments is simple. The whole premise is flawed. He/she alleges that "the second problem is the word religion." I proclaim that the problem is the word spirituality. I proclaim that antifascist and Thom do not understand the meaning of it. I also proclaim that using the phrase "non-theistic religion" is an oxymoron. On that note Laborisgood, did you really mean to say non-deist religions? Non-deists assert that the universe arose from the operation of natural laws, unassisted by a god or any other conscious supernatural force, so that wouldn't really make sense, as it is not a religion. Just like atheism.

Antifascist wrote: On the other hand, Thom and many others, view religion as "spirituality" showing that the atheists just don't get it. By Thom saying "Atheism is a religion" the atheists show their naivete by getting so upset and proving that many fundamentalist atheists are hardly any different than fundamentalist theists--they exist on the same plain because both are absurdly arguing about g-d's zip code.

Spirituality is also NOT a religion. If there is no existence of a deity, no worship of an invisible supernatural power that controls everything, no afterlife... then it is NOT a religion. So we're back to square one. Atheism is NOT a religion. Just like spirituality is NOT a religion. Many atheists are considered (or consider themselves) spiritual. I, for one, could be considered a spiritual atheist. Why? Because, even though I use the empirical scientific method, I can also look at the physical world around me in awe and excitement, and with a sense of wonder at the beauty of this universe and our environment, the complexity of all life forms, the breathtaking grandeur of the cosmos. Atheism and spirituality are secular views. Admittedly (and shockingly) I have met self-described spiritualists that claim a disbelief in a god and a religious institution, while still believing in a greater power of some kind. These kinds of "spiritualists" WOULD fall in the religious category, but I believe they are misrepresenting themselves.

It's kinda of funny really. I hope they don't mind me explaining the joke. So I think you, Laborisgood, picked up on the underlying complexity.

One more thing Antifascist, the fact that you would find "upsetting" us funny is actually quite funny. I don't really get upset (well maybe a little, lol). I am just shocked and it makes Thom sound, for lack of a better word, dumb (to me). And I know he is not. I love the guy. Conservatives have a way of using the word "socialism" in a similar way. I don't know...I tried finding an analogy.

Antifascist, My Search for Absolutes was really interesting though.

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Oct. 28, 2011 4:16 pm

Thank you very much for that Zenzoe. I tried watching this from work but youtube is apparently blocked, so I just got around to watching it now. Much of what Dawkins alleges is what I said above. I think people mishandle the word "spirituality." I agree with Dawkins when he points out that the sense of awe, wonder and excitement one might feel towards the universe, the night sky or just by looking into a microscope, has been completely misappropriated by religion. Nobody has a monopology on universe appreciation. As a matter of fact, science allows us to appreciate it even better. Religion sees design and attributes it to a creator. I see thousands of years and even millions of years of gradual changes, of trial and error, of careful adjustments and slight tweaks, adaptation that leads to the perfection and imperfections of an organism, and the evolution never ends. Ultimate perfection is not the goal. Temporary perfection is the goal, because our world is constantly changing, requiring all plants and animals to keep up or die. That is beautiful to me. I also feel a sense of belonging and a connection with the earth and other species. No... not an energy. Just a connection. A plant that is harmless to us may be poisenous to an extraterrestrial intruder because it lacks immunity (ie: new world meet old world). We are here today because we have earned that right. However, the theory of creation is so invasive and foreign to me. One moment, humans do not exist and the next they do. They were created separate from all the other forms of life. Science is definitely more fun to me. Reality is much more exciting.

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Oct. 28, 2011 4:16 pm

Zenzoe, is a “her.” Sorry. I stand corrected.

However, I prefer substantial response, not mere cleaver rhetorical counter arguments. I do not insist that you agree with Tillich, but he presents arguments that point to the unavoidable epistemological and metaphysical issues that all thinkers have to logically address either explicitly of implicitly regardless of ones belief or nonbelief in a theistic g-d. I do not believe in a theistic g-d and nor does Paul Tillich. He is an atheistic theologian and I was hoping you would be at least curious why that is the case. Tillich has been called a Christian anarchist just like the French philosopher, Jacques Ellul. Also, Tillich is anti-authoritarian. That is why the Nazis drove him out of the German University system. The Nazis were theists. He said, “All institutions, including the Church, are demonic.” That seems pretty anti-authoritarian to me and I suspect to other also.

If I don’t believe in a theistic g-d, then I certainly do not believe in literal angels as existing entities like pins and would certainly be a waste of time, agreed! So your comment tells me you still don’t understand what is meant by non-theism. Restating the stamps analogy doesn’t make it anymore truer. Analogies are useful to clarify, but are not logical arguments.

CeciAtea, one the other hand, gives a variety of good thoughtful arguments. Much more challenging for sure! Unfortunately, not all of them apply to my position. I am not trying to belittle your arguments, but rather they give me an opportunity make distinctions and make my admittedly obscure position clearer.

First, I am not a religious evangelical if I argue against a theistic g-d. That is what theists do all the time. Theists is a reified group and really doesn’t describe peoples often contradictory ideas of g-d, but for the purpose of argument (I mean “argument’ in the Socratic sense) we use this term “theists” and to a degree falsify what actual people think. We are not defending “religion” but in fact are “anti-religious” in the traditional meaning. Ultimately, all ideology is a matter of faith. This does derail all theistic arguments. That is what I am trying to do. “Evidence” and “proof” are highly ideological and epistemological concept that needs extensive critical thought and definition. The “playing field” is exactly the question at hand so to appeal to it is circular logical reasoning just as “proof” or historically referred to as the “verification theory” of logical positivism. Liberals tend to be theists just like Conservatives so political positions do not address the epistemological questions. Yes, we agree on that point.

Some Buddhists and Hindus believe in g-d and are atheistic. This isn’t a contradiction. And you are correct, the terms have different meaning but that isn’t necessarily dishonest. The fairies argument is a straw man argument. I don’t believe in such entities. Polytheism can be atheistic and ultimately monistic: the many g-ds are symbols of a unified universe that is non-theistic.

Yes! Atheism is a rejection of a positive claim—that’s is atheism and theism’s problem. Atheism is congruent with certain schools of science. Because of human consciousness both atheism and religion are subjective and objective. The history of science can be capricious also as Alfred Kuhn has shown. Again, “evidence,” “data” “verification” are ideological in nature and changes in history, as you have already noted. And in regard to the belief of historical scientific technical progressivism: is that belief arrived deductively, or inductively, or is it a metaphysical belief based on something else?

From your arguments religion would have to be man made which is also my position and does indeed creates “fairy tales” galore. I try to create them everyday but sometime the inspiration isn’t there. They are the Bread of Life to use an analogy. Yes, both theism and atheism embrace the unknown. Dang! That’s a good point! I learned something.

CeciAtea you are a philosopher and a very good one at that!!!

I will try to find my response to Prof. Richard Dawkins’ interview. Hey, here it is!

Very interesting interview of Dr. Richard Dawkins. I agree with Dawkins about the absurdity of Creationism. Creationism is based on biblical literalism and claims to make a scientific statement of fact, but it contradicts factual data of modern science--the age of earth in years for example. The problem is with biblical literalism itself and trying to resolve the contradiction is just running down a rat hole. Reified theistic mythological supernaturalism cannot claim factual propositional status.

Do I hear a little naive realism in Dr. Dawkins' view of natural science? Science is the "best approximation of the truth." So truth is in "evidence" and "fact." Of course this is only an interview so he likely has an extended explanation of his idea of scientific truth and that is where I would look very closely with Alfred Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" ideas in mind.

Speaking of metaphysical statements... Dawkins has a secret sack of values and metaphysical beliefs. What is Dawkins' reasoning of elevating to special status "Wonder" or "The Magic of Reality" above any other subjective experiences--above boredom for example--and how does it give us knowledge of reality? In other words, where does the ordering of facts, subjective or objective, come in? Does the distinction between "subjective" and "objective" exist only in the thoughts of the observer? Fideism (Latin for fides, or faith) is the belief that faith in matters of religion are opposed to, and independent of, Reason. Has Dawkins' just replaced the religious word "faith" with the neutral secular word, "Wonder?" Why is reality valued more than unreality? Didn't the wonder of the universe by consciousness, or the spiritual precede-- scientific method? If we don't know what consciousness is how would it be possible to make a thinking computer by adding "complexity." Is being human merely material matter plus complexity? How can complexity produce the personal?

And if we learn from history, we must have some interpretation of what history is and if one defines the history of science as a mechanistic series of events in a progressive telos...well, you see the problem. The scientific paradigm of instrumental reason is insufficient for knowning human reality.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Just throwing this out there: http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/ghost.html

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am

Antifascist, you may "prefer substantial response, not mere cleaver rhetorical counter arguments," but if you do, you might consider reading the entirety of a person's comments and considering those as well, before you jump to conclusions, before you decide to underestimate that person's mind. In fact, I could say your first response to me failed in "substantial response" and committed the sin —according to your definition— of "clever rhetorical counter-arguments" against me (ah...I missed another of your misspellings: "cleaver," not that I care all that much, but if you're going to present yourself as well-read and educated...). For one thing, you completely ignored Karen Armstrong's (religion scholar) information about logos and mythos and my point in regard to that, which is a valid point. Then you assumed I had not read Tillich, which I have. Considering all, I'd say you deserved what you got from me.

I understand you want to present Tillich's philosophy as having made atheism into a "new theism." But I also understand his idea of the "ground of all being" was not new at all. However, to discuss it any further than that is, for me, to engage in mental masturbation, which much of philosophizing looks like to me:

Quote Annie Hall:

Annie Hall: "Existential Motifs in Russian Literature. You're really close."

Alvie Singer: "What's the difference? It's all mental masturbation."

Suffice it to say, your "atheistic theologian" construction is an oxymoron, plain and simple.

In any case, I am not here to compete with Ceci for your approval. Nor do I feel it important to explain my own philosophy, which is always in flux. I have probably read more than the average American on the subject, having grappled with it in my youth as most people do, but now I find myself incapable of making dogmatic claims one way or the other. I've read, most recently, both Chris Hedges' book on Christian Fascism (as well as his debates with atheists, where he makes clear the flaws in their arguments) and Dawkins' book on the God Delusion. I see valid points in all, and I understand that it is possible to be religious without a belief in the supernatural.

However, you cannot claim atheism is a religion and expect to convince me. It ain't gonna happen.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I don't understand why it is insulting to atheists to refer to their belief system as "religious." It is not an insult, but as Anti has been arguing a matter of epistemological honesty. The enemy of atheism is not religion, it is "theism," the insistence that there be an ontological being "God" out there or everywhere. Tillich and I would find a non-theistic way to express the concept of the Holy.

Atheism is not the best place to take a stand against bad religion. I do not accept ideology as good religion or faith as anything less than intellectual and moral integrity. Theology is about what it means to be human in this world, and all the myth and metaphysics is supposed to open our imagination to deeper truths than the surface of the mysteries. Accepting no false gods is more important than embracing any One image or brand of "God." Atheism has little ability to distinguish between false gods and what religious traditions at their best have done to open ears and eyes to reality.

Don't worry, I am more than aware of how bad religion can be and how dangerous it is when it gets into bed with power. As the last refuge for prejudice, religion is hard to beat. And this is why I have never made being very religious any badge for spiritual status or integrity. Religion may or may not help us on the way to faith. Knowing when it is doing one or the other is what matters.

The central problem for me about atheism is that the question of the "existence of God" is not all that important. It is totally irrelevant as it has been packaged in the science v. religion debate of the Enlightenment and its Age of Reason because science and theology have been dating and are going steady in the post-Newtonian Age. Where atheists can get stuck is in the cosmology of secularism even if they hope to add a moral and spiritual component.

Anti and I are not opposed to the rejection of theism as an operating metaphysics. I think it confuses people, and the culture of religion which unites all the "god believers" does nothing to tell me whether these "gods" have anything going for them in the reality department. There is no question that theism is a religious problem today. It can continue to have a practical spiritual effect if it is not taken "literally." It is like Newtonian Physics in that it can still "get us to the moon." It just cannot explain what we know about the cosmos. Theism no longer can make "god" real to the imagination without a fatal suspension of disbelief.

The critique of theism does not equate to a critique of religion, and that is where atheists can become bothersome and 'evangelical.' Even if you have had good reason to reject religion because you ran into offensive religious people or a dogma club of intellectually deficient interest, you have not dealt with the larger question of how we think and imagine these questions about being human. There is a reason religions are common in human societies and why they use imaginative language, images and stories to "teach" and "form." "Secularism" does not avoid religion if it just thinks that secular reality is in our grasp. Thinking we have reality pinned down is bad religion. It is why I have a red flag for all people who claim to be "realists." I would be one too, but I realize that it is a goal and not my badge of authority.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

A woman was recently beheaded in Saudi Arabia for "sorcery"; are we really to believe that non-theistic philosophy- or non-theological philosophy for that matter- could have produced the same charge?

Religion is an anachronism; there can be no successful attempt to redifine it in such a way as to promote a historical continuity to the historical use of the word after it has been redifined to conform to rational thought in an attempt to make the term useful to the present age. Open-mindedness and a critical attitude towards the state of scientific knowledge is never a retrograde path to states of cultural development which precede the realization of how and why religious thought developed over the course of the millenia. This is not merely a question of anthropomorphism but a broader distinction between what types of forces are at work in the world.

The existential quandary of the individual in relation to ideology or paradigm does not in any way undermine the logical consistency or validity of rational paradigms. Those who would substitute the "abyss" for sound epistemology are guilty of seeking a "higher ground" at the unfair expense of atheists; why argue that the label "religion" is not an insult and then try to finesse a position which distances itself from religion, evidently in recognition of the fact that religion is not merely a particular thought system which has been discredited by a particular type of thought system which has been discredited? I know, science makes claims to systems and paradigms; but aren't these comprehensive modes of analysis qualitatively different from religion? Religion is the expression of truth in the context of human desire and human nature; it systemitizes knowledge in relation to spiritual concerns and makes a claim of absolute knowledge based upon the conclusions and cosmology enshrined within it. Scientific knowledge on the other hand, while it at least implicity acknowledges the concept of truth, does so in manner which addresses the need to understand phenomenon on their own terms. It is with this type of knowledge that the best decisions in matters of justice and secular morality can be made.

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nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Isn't it possible for a person to participate in a formal religion (including all the bells and whistles of that specific group) and come away with an enhanced view of the world that strives for love and compassion for their fellow man, regardless of their iron-clad belief in a supreme being? Of course, it happens all the time.

This does not mean that each and every person who participates in organized religion achieves that enhanced view or that formal religion is the one and only path. Much good can and does come from religion in spite of the vast amount of people who are none too good at practicing what they hear preached or the many misguided preachers who behave as politicians and not the mentors they are supposed to be.

It's ironic that Thom in his quest to unite people though his cerebral philosophizing, just ends up dividing people every time. Some things can never be perfectly harmonized, but you can always find a way to accept someone different if you try. Many people would rather not try. It's a choice.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Zenzoe, citing spelling and typing errors is a classic troll response. "Nor do I feel it important to explain my own philosophy, which is always in flux." You have been successful in that goal.

Thank you DRC for your response. I was getting tired.

Nimblecivet wrote, " This is not merely a question of anthropomorphism but a broader distinction between what types of forces are at work in the world." I think we are making progress.

Nimblecivet actually wrote,

A woman was recently beheaded in Saudi Arabia for "sorcery"; are we really to believe that non-theistic philosophy- or non-theological philosophy for that matter- could have produced the same charge?

Science and technology--especially psychology and medical science--is currently being used by our government to torture people. Should we reject science and science method?

I know, science makes claims to systems and paradigms; but aren't these comprehensive modes of analysis qualitatively different from religion? Religion is the expression of truth in the context of human desire and human nature; it systemitizes [sic] knowledge in relation to spiritual concerns and makes a claim of absolute knowledge based upon the conclusions and cosmology enshrined within it. Scientific knowledge on the other hand, while it at least implicity [sic] acknowledges the concept of truth, does so in manner which addresses the need to understand phenomenon on their own terms. It is with this type of knowledge that the best decisions in matters of justice and secular morality can be made.

No, the two paradigms of religion and science are....paradigms of their own terms--like, "truth". I think even you sensed that you were digging a whole. This is exactly the point Tillich was making in the quote from Systematic Theology. I think you debated yourself and lost. That happens to me sometimes.

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I apologize for my misuse of deist/theist, Ceci. I'm no theologian or philosopher by any stretch. I guess supreme being is more my speed.

Zenzoe: I love the mental masturbation quote.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

DRC writes, "I don't understand why it is insulting to atheists to refer to their belief system as "religious." First, I notice a few of problems with the way he frames his sentence and the issue: For one, he has atheists in possession of a "belief system," despite the fact that atheists come in all shapes and sizes, and all manner of philosophical —or not philosophical— stripes, and despite the often repeated statement that atheism simply rejects the notion of a personal god, or a deity; then, he uses the word "religious," thereby removing it from the issue here, which is the original claim that atheism is a religion.

Also, assuming DRC's intent was to say he didn't understand why atheists would be insulted by the notion of atheism as a religion, I then have to take exception to his claim that atheists have been "insulted." I don't think the assertion that atheism is a religion is insulting; it is simply wrong—illogical and ridiculous; this, because, according to my understanding, the mind-set that informs atheism comes of the logos side of human consciousness, while religion comes of the mythos side of human consciousness. And ne'er the twain shall meet! I hate to keep bringing this up, but it's an important distinction. If atheism = a religion is an insult at all, it is an insult to common sense.

That is to say, if we are to take the word religion literally.

But maybe Thom didn't mean it in a literal sense. He has not offered much of an explanation to support his assertion that atheism is a religion, other than to say atheists "evangelize," which insults the true meaning of the word evangelize, by the way. If he were to come out and say he meant the word religion in a very loose sense, in the sense of a strong devotion to, say, education, that is, using the word metaphorically: "This teacher makes a religion of the pursuit of knowledge." Then, in that sense, I could agree. One could then say, with some credibility, that Richard Dawkins makes a religion of evolution. We can agree with that, because we understand the metaphorical implication there. It is not to say he promotes any sort of absolutist dogma; only that he has a passion for the subject.

Of course, when atheists go wrong, it is when they make a god of reason, metaphorically speaking. When atheists set up a world of either/or —either you're rational or irrational— and dismiss all other modes of human understanding, consciousness, thought or endeavor as irrelevant or soft-headed or dangerous, they do enter the realm of toxic orthodoxy. It might be scientific orthodoxy, where science becomes a god of terrible oppression and injury (Monsanto, or our food system, or unethical medical experimentation, as examples: i.e., laissez faire science in the interest of profit).

Whether religion can be atheistic, or atheism religion, doesn't interest me so much as being able to recognize when, as human beings, we participate in damage to others and the natural world via our beliefs, or our non-beliefs.

So much for my own mental masturbation. ;-)

Btw, Antifascist, if you think I am a troll, you haven't been paying much attention here at TH.com.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

All mental maturbation aside, my synopsis is that being bigoted towards religious people is perfectly acceptable to people who would otherwise be strongly opposed to bigotry towards Blacks, Jews, Homosexuals or the Disabled. If you must, look at religion as a disablilty. That is not to say that religion can ever be acceptably forced upon those who oppose it or that religious bigotry against homosexuality is acceptable. Bigotry goes both ways and either way is unacceptable in a civilized society.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Oh Dear...Zenzoe does summersaults:

For one, he has atheists in possession of a "belief system," despite the fact that atheists come in all shapes and sizes, and all manner of philosophical —or not philosophical— stripes,

Contradiction. Aren’t philosophical strips “belief system[s]?” What is a “non-philosophical-- stripe? Contradictory statements? All persons are philosophers, even one that says, “I don’t believe in philosophy” since they believe it to be a true proposition. Even pragmatism is an “ism.”

I then have to take exception to his claim that atheists have been "insulted." I don't think the assertion that atheism is a religion is insulting; it is simply wrong—illogical and ridiculous; this, because, according to my understanding, the mind-set that informs atheism comes of the logos side of human consciousness, while religion comes of the mythos side of human consciousness... And ne'er the twain shall meet!

Oops, isn’t a “mind-set” a belief system. Doesn't the title of this thread is “I can't really stand it when Tom discusses atheism/agnosticism” implying “insult?” I have heard many callers say they are “insulted” by calling atheism a religion. Isn’t that what started this thread?

Isn’t calling the proposition “Atheism is a religion,” illogical committing the logical fallacy of circular reason since it logically is the very question we are trying to resolve? You cannot logically use the conclusion of your position as a premise in your argument to establish the conclusion "A and B, therefore A." The understanding of this fallacy of circular reasoning is called “baby logic.”

if we are to take the word religion literally.

The literalism of theism and atheism for that matter is exactly the question at hand. Tautologies cannot be contradicted-- "what's true is true" so you are good there. LOL.

He [Thom Hartmann] has not offered much of an explanation to support his assertion that atheism is a religion, other than to say atheists "evangelize," which insults the true meaning of the word evangelize, by the way.

So you are insulted. You have to keep track of your earlier statements otherwise you are just contradicting yourself.

If he were to come out and say he meant the word religion in a very loose sense, in the sense of a strong devotion to, say, education, that is, using the word metaphorically: "This teacher makes a religion of the pursuit of knowledge." Then, in that sense, I could agree.

Almost there: instead of devotion, try “epistemology,” "world view," "life world," "mind-set," and “metaphysics.” And all the rest that you have written is backtracking.

You flunked baby logic. I hope you are better at masturbation--although that is mental also.

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Anti: I'll reply to your fascinating points when I get home tonight, but I quickly wanted to touch on this:

Quote:A woman was recently beheaded in Saudi Arabia for "sorcery"; are we really to believe that non-theistic philosophy- or non-theological philosophy for that matter- could have produced the same charge?

Antifascist wrote: Science and technology--especially psychology and medical science--is currently being used by our government to torture people. Should we reject science and science method?

You raise a very interesting point, but I don't think they're both on the same wavelength and your analogy is defective. In the first example, theism/religion was the cause for beheading. In the second example, science and technology were the tools they used. Science and technology were not the cause. Science and technology in the second example would be analogous to the cutting tool used in the first example. Should we reject cutting tools?

I don't know, what do you think?

I certainly enjoy reading your posts Anti. All of you have some very interesting and valid points. Thanks for sharing.

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CeciAtea
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Oct. 28, 2011 4:16 pm

Thank you CeciAteca. I appreciate your sincere and careful thoughts on this topic. I don't want this to be a tit for tat conversation since those are not very productive--and not fun. Socratic dialog is the best way to go!

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Sz8Sx5KzHc "Masturbation with Dr. Ruth Westheimer"- "2 minutes"?!?! And I'm still single?!?!?!?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0iTN-B7Xdgn If you didn't get enough, here she is with Ozzy...

Things are so effed-up these days it makes the eighties look like a Humanist Rennaissance. All that easy money- who needs "family values"? Oops- I think I just stumbled upon a 'contradiction'. Well, best to keep in mind that while I was watching Friday Night Videos whole villages of peasants were being massacred in Central America by U.S.-backed right-wing paramilitaries... Oh, nevermind...

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nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Trolling.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Antifascist:

Oh Dear...Zenzoe does summersaults:

For one, he has atheists in possession of a "belief system," despite the fact that atheists come in all shapes and sizes, and all manner of philosophical —or not philosophical— stripes,

Contradiction. Aren’t philosophical strips “belief system[s]?” What is a “non-philosophical-- stripe? Contradictory statements? All persons are philosophers, even one that says, “I don’t believe in philosophy” since they believe it to be a true proposition. Even pragmatism is an “ism.”

You get an F in reading and word comprehension. Is it beyond your comprehension to imagine a person who just doesn't think that much about it, but simply doesn't believe in god? My not believing that ghosts exist is not a philosophy. How about taking a break from your attack mode and looking at the meaning of the word, philosophy:

1. Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.

2. Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.

3. A system of thought based on or involving such inquiry: the philosophy of Hume.

4. The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.

5. The disciplines presented in university curriculums of science and the liberal arts, except medicine, law, and theology.

6. The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.

7. A set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular field or activity; an underlying theory: an original philosophy of advertising.

8. A system of values by which one lives: has an unusual philosophy of life.

Critical analysis, discipline...it may not be obvious to you, but to me it's quite obvious: My not believing in ghosts does not mean I have a philosophy informing my disbelief; it is possible to decide ghosts do not exist, without delving into, exploring, examining ghosts to be experiential and non-experiential ghosts or whatever else one can come up with regard to ghosts.

Barbarism is not a philosophy, either. The suffix "ism" does not necessarily refer to a system of thought. Read your dictionary. It can refer to a "state or condition."

Quote Zenzoe:

I then have to take exception to his claim that atheists have been "insulted." I don't think the assertion that atheism is a religion is insulting; it is simply wrong—illogical and ridiculous; this, because, according to my understanding, the mind-set that informs atheism comes of the logos side of human consciousness, while religion comes of the mythos side of human consciousness... And ne'er the twain shall meet!

Oops, isn’t a “mind-set” a belief system. Doesn't the title of this thread is “I can't really stand it when Tom discusses atheism/agnosticism” implying “insult?” I have heard many callers say they are “insulted” by calling atheism a religion. Isn’t that what started this thread?

No, "mind-set" is not necessarily —it can be, though, it is true— a belief system. A person might have a mind-set of openness to new experience; being open to new experience does not require the complexity of an entire belief system; it may simply be a matter of temperament. Again, F in comprehension. You not only miss the point, but you commit the logical fallacy of quoting out of context and selectively ignoring certain details in what I've said that agree it might be an insult (to common sense): If atheism = a religion is an insult at all, it is an insult to common sense.

Quote Antifascist fascist:

Isn’t calling the proposition “Atheism is a religion,” illogical committing the logical fallacy of circular reason since it logically is the very question we are trying to resolve? You cannot logically use the conclusion of your position as a premise in your argument to establish the conclusion "A and B, therefore A." The understanding of this fallacy of circular reasoning is called “baby logic.”

If whether the proposition is illogical or not is the very question we are trying to solve, then I answered in the affirmative: Yes, it is illogical. Please don't bother me with your baby logic!

What an ass you are!!! What did I ever do to you to deserve this attack?

Quote Zenzoe:

He [Thom Hartmann] has not offered much of an explanation to support his assertion that atheism is a religion, other than to say atheists "evangelize," which insults the true meaning of the word evangelize, by the way.

So you are insulted. You have to keep track of your earlier statements otherwise you are just contradicting yourself.

Can't you read? Another F in comprehension: I said it insults the word evangelize, not me! What is the matter with you?

I have given you plenty to find agreeable, yet you ignore all of it. Now I am insulted! Remind me never again to anything of yours again. You call yourself "Antifascist?" How's that, if you're a philosophy fascist? So you've done a little bit of philosophy—big fucking deal.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Don't ask me what this has to do with anything. Great slideshow though.

http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/12/the-ashaninka-a-threatened-way-of-life/100208/

"The Ashaninka in Brazil avoided the horrors experienced by the Peruvian Ashaninka during the 1980 and 90s, when thousands were caught up in the internal conflict between the Maoist Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) and counter-insurgency forces. The state of war brought disastrous consequences for the Ashaninka of Peru: assassination of leaders, torture, forced indoctrination of children, and executions. It is thought that thousands of Ashaninka were displaced, and many killed or taken captive from their forest communities, by the Sendero Luminoso. Dozens of Ashaninka communities disappeared altogether. "Our history is one of constant abuse: we were enslaved during the rubber boom, forcibly removed from our territory, and subjected to cruel atrocities during the civil war that has unfolded in our territory since the 1980s," said the Ashaninka in a 2009 statement."

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nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I am devastated. Ah, I need to look up that word, "philosophy." For the record, misquoting isn't either a formal or informal logical fallacy. It's just misquoting. How do you insult a word? I never like the word "hermeneutical," and "praxis" better be careful. Oops sorry.

Barbarism isn't a philosophy? I think you got me there... except... barbarism is a rejection of valuing human beings just like nihilism rejects valuing human beings so I guess Nihilism isn't a philosophy either. Excuse me; I got to go attend my fascist meeting. And please do not become a theist—they have enough problems as it is.

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

So, I couldn't help noticing Antifascist said, "...barbarism is a rejection of valuing human beings just like nihilism rejects valuing human beings so I guess Nihilism isn't a philosophy either." Hm-m-m-mm...what's wrong with this picture? Does Antifascist mean to imply the upside-down-version of that, as in, "Nihilism is a philosophy: Nihilism rejects valuing human beings; barbarism rejects valuing human beings; therefore barbarism is a philosophy? Is that anything like, "Dogs are mammals; dogs have four legs; tables have four legs, therefore tables are mammals?

I don't claim to be a philosopher, but I know when somebody has his head up his ass. For the record, barbarism is "an uncivilized state or act," not a well-developed system of thought. If you're going to make a claim, at least get your definitions straight.

I swear, I'm pretty good at being wrong often enough, and I'll apologize if I am wrong. But damn if this thread wasn't like walking into a rattlesnake den.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Zenzoe wrote...

So, I couldn't help noticing Antifascist said, "...barbarism is a rejection of valuing human beings just like nihilism rejects valuing human beings so I guess Nihilism isn't a philosophy either." Hm-m-m-mm...what's wrong with this picture? Does Antifascist mean to imply the upside-down-version of that, as in, "Nihilism is a philosophy: Nihilism rejects valuing human beings; barbarism rejects valuing human beings; therefore barbarism is a philosophy? Is that anything like, "Dogs are mammals; dogs have four legs; tables have four legs, therefore tables are mammals?

I don't claim to be a philosopher, but I know when somebody has his head up his ass. For the record, barbarism is "an uncivilized state or act," not a well-developed system of thought. If you're going to make a claim, at least get your definitions straight.

I swear, I'm pretty good at being wrong often enough, and I'll apologize if I am wrong. But damn if this thread wasn't like walking into a rattlesnake den.

Speaking of definitions, what's a "leg?" Fallacy of Equivocation. You just been bitten.

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Antifascist:

Zenzoe wrote...

So, I couldn't help noticing Antifascist said, "...barbarism is a rejection of valuing human beings just like nihilism rejects valuing human beings so I guess Nihilism isn't a philosophy either." Hm-m-m-mm...what's wrong with this picture? Does Antifascist mean to imply the upside-down-version of that, as in, "Nihilism is a philosophy: Nihilism rejects valuing human beings; barbarism rejects valuing human beings; therefore barbarism is a philosophy? Is that anything like, "Dogs are mammals; dogs have four legs; tables have four legs, therefore tables are mammals?

I don't claim to be a philosopher, but I know when somebody has his head up his ass. For the record, barbarism is "an uncivilized state or act," not a well-developed system of thought. If you're going to make a claim, at least get your definitions straight.

I swear, I'm pretty good at being wrong often enough, and I'll apologize if I am wrong. But damn if this thread wasn't like walking into a rattlesnake den.

Speaking of definitions, what's a "leg?" Fallacy of Equivocation. You just been bitten.

Exactly. It's what you did. I showed you what you said, in essence: "Nihilism is a philosophy: Nihilism rejects valuing human beings; barbarism rejects valuing human beings; therefore barbarism is a philosophy." It was your fallacy of equivocation, not mine. The dog/table/mammal example simply revealed the illogic of your statement about barbarism.

You can conduct all the philosophical circumnavigations you like around the subject, but the fact remains: Thom's assertion that atheism is a religion —not "atheists behave like fundamentalists, or have spirituality too," or any of the other distortions people use to make sense of his statement— is false. I see nothing whatsoever in the definition of a "religion" that fits with atheism. Your dependence on "ism" to guide your thinking just doesn't work— is Nihilism a religion? Is barbarism a religion? (rhetorical questions. I'm not interested in your answer. And I have no doubt you're great at back-peddling and can try to change the meaning of what you said, to save face. It won't change how this went. You attacked me in an ad hominem way from the very start, insulting my intelligence and my knowledge, assuming yourself to be a paragon of insight and logic, to initiate a fight. You lost. Own it.)

Not to mix our metaphors, but maybe you shouldn't squat with your spurs on.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Zenzoe wrote:

Barbarism is not a philosophy, either. The suffix "ism" does not necessarily refer to a system of thought.

And then you sloppily paraphased my comments:

"Nihilism is a philosophy: Nihilism rejects valuing human beings; barbarism rejects valuing human beings; therefore barbarism is a philosophy."

You put my words into an argument form--I didn't. If I wanted to put it into a valid argument form , it would look like this:

1.)The Rejection of valuing human beings is a belief System.

2.)Barbarism is the Rejection of valuing human beings.

3.)Nilhilism is the Rejection of valuing human beings.

--------------------------------

Therefore: Barbarism is a belief System. (1, 2, Hypothetical Syllogism)

Since the premises are true, this valid argument form is sound. I committed no fallacy of equivocation as you did. Also, study the difference between necessity and contingency before you make a fool out of yourself...again.

You, Zenzoe, not only failed to grow a brain, but you are also intellectually dishonest and have a very petty ego.

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Antifascist:

Zenzoe wrote:

Barbarism is not a philosophy, either. The suffix "ism" does not necessarily refer to a system of thought.

And then you sloppily paraphased my comments:

"Nihilism is a philosophy: Nihilism rejects valuing human beings; barbarism rejects valuing human beings; therefore barbarism is a philosophy."

You put my words into an argument form--I didn't. If I wanted to put it into a valid argument form , it would look like this:

1.)The Rejection of valuing human beings is a belief System.

2.)Barbarism is the Rejection of valuing human beings.

3.)Nilhilism is the Rejection of valuing human beings.

--------------------------------

Therefore: Barbarism is a belief System. (1, 2, Hypothetical Syllogism)

Since the premises are true, this valid argument form is sound. I committed no fallacy of equivocation as you did. Also, study the difference between necessity and contingency before you make a fool out of yourself...again.

Except that the premises are not true: That is not the definition of barbarism; it is your definition of barbarism. And I committed no fallacy of equivocation, I merely translated your logical fallacy from the implications of your insistence and great desire for barbarism to be a belief system, out of your aggressive need to have all "isms" as belief systems (and even if they were, that would not grant them status as religions). They are not, but I'm not going to list them for you.

But okay, okay, you win—words have no meanings; all words can be twisted to fit your own definitions; the word religion can mean anything you want it to mean; philosophies are religions, mind-sets are religions, and mere disbelief can be a religion. Yes, you win: It is not possible to corrupt the language by misusing it.

It's amazing how many people are wrong —according to your mind-set— to think atheism is not a religion. Too bad you can't round us all up and put us in concentration camps.

Quote Anything Else/Woody Allen:

David Dobel: ...and the next thing I knew they made some crack about my religion which I found in poor taste.
Jerry Falk: Religion? You're an atheist!

Quote Antifascist:

You, Zenzoe, not only failed to grow a brain, but you are also intellectually dishonest and have a very petty ego.

Talk about projection. Nice try, Bubba.

There have been times, when you and I got along pretty well. Like here: http://m.thomhartmann.com/forum/2010/06/86-yrs-bedridden-woman-tased   It's nice to remember the old Antifascist, the one who defends old ladies. And it's probably a good idea to remember we probably agree on most things.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Being "in agreement on most things" is typically an unknown quantity up until you honestly deal with things you disagree on (as long as you can keep your ego in check). Lord knows my ego has kept many truths from ever seeing the light of day.

There was this obnoxious, loud-mouth, know-it-all who sat in front of me at one of my early college classes (Statics). He was constantly questioning the professor to the extent that it seemed he was just showing off. "Who the hell does he think he is?", I asked myself. A few days later we were the best of friends and remained so all through college. He was actually the first serious Lefty I ever hung around with.

This little story really has no purpose other than to remind myself of how things are often only as bad as you make them out to be and the tides are forever changing. These atheism threads never fail to ruffle some feathers.

Which reminds me of a question I had yesterday, but felt it wasn't compelling enough to post. Where the hell are all the conservatives when these atheist threads pop up? You would expect a Rigel or a Calperson to be chiming in. It really proves the point that religion is purely a tool used by the GOP to bludgeon it's electorate and not really an honest part of conservative core beliefs. The worship of money is sufficient.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Thank you Laborisgood for your positive comments. Theism, more often than not, is a tool of war.

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Good to see some folks questioning the beliefs behind atheism. I agree that the stamp analogy is clearly a false analogy. Atheism is not simply not collecting stamps, it is making a metaphysical claim about the ultimate nature of stamps

In case it has not been mentioned here so far, those who believe in a determined universe that can be explained entirely by matter and scientific laws run into a problem over the question of free-will. Suprisingly most of them do not even understand the contradiction until it is explained to them

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