Daily Topics - Tuesday November 30th, 2010

Quote of the Day: "The world wants disarmament, the world needs disarmament. We have it in our power to help fashion future history." -- Arthur Henderson (1863-1935) British Union Leader, Politician, Disarmament Advocate, 1934 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Hour One: START treaty...when will Republicans do the right thing? Former Senator Gary Hart (D-CO), Chairman of the Board of the American Security Project will be here along with Dr. David Kay, former IAEA/UNSCOM Chief Nuclear Weapons Inspector - www.americansecurityproject.org/

Hour Two: Atheists vs Catholics vs Atheists...what would Jefferson do? Thom challenges Jeff Field, Communications Director of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights - www.catholicleague.org

Hour Three: Can activism really overcome billionaires and big oil? Tim Carpenter, National Director-Progressive Democrats of America, will be here - www.pdamerica.org


gerald's picture
gerald 9 years 12 weeks ago

More poverty in the United States of Mortal Sin!!!


gerald's picture
gerald 9 years 12 weeks ago

The end is near for the Democrats! Loss of Medicare and Social Security will happen as the GOP gain the Senate and the presidency in 2012. RIP Democrats!!!


Voting for a weak president is a bad investment.

Obama leaves office on January 19, 2013 with a great pension plan and $170 million in a trust from his 2008 run for the presidency. Obama has ROYALLY screwed working Americans. Obama has always been a closet Republican.

Obama is the failed Grand Experiment. He has never been ready to be president. He has been a BOHICA for average working Americans. I name him - Barak "Bend Over Americans" Obama.

gerald's picture
gerald 9 years 12 weeks ago

Here is an open confession and my biggest disappointment and worry!!!

My Eternal Destiny

In 2007 I gave our sons a copy of a letter from Doug Soderstrom, “A Letter to My Son Regarding the Problem of War.” The letter elaborates on what kind of person will his son be? For this Christmas in 2010 I am giving our sons an Examination of Conscience (a pamphlet) that highlights our mortal and venial sins in using the Ten Commandments as a guide. As I reviewed the Ten Commandments, I quickly learned that I am a sinner, a big time sinner! Entry into heaven will be very, very difficult for me.

Let me share with you an experience! About two weeks ago I awoke during the night and a sense of panic covered me. Flashing before me were my sins and the realization that my soul is damned. I also realized that God, as a judge, must be consistent. I was hoping for a merciful God to judge me. A merciful God is Jesus but we will be judged by God, the Father, and a God of Justice. God will review our Book of Life with our good deeds and with our sinful ways. My good deeds do not come close for an invitation into God’s kingdom. My fate has been sealed! I do not have enough time to overcome my sinful ways.

Since the sense of a panic attack and my fate sealed, I have been praying to God to let hell have varying degrees of pain and suffering. Although eternity does not have an awareness of time and space, maybe in my case there will be twenty-four hour days with one hour a day to be free of pain and suffering. Will these days be possible for me, I do not know!

gerald's picture
gerald 9 years 12 weeks ago

The following three paragraphs will convey some idea of the enormity of the indifference of employers for their workers:

Aetna, AIG, Alamo Rent a Car, Alcoa, Allstate, Anheuser-Bush, AT&T, Bank of America, Bechtel, BellSouth, Best Buy, Borden Chemical, Boeing, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Caterpillar, ChevronTexaco, Citigrouup, Continental airlines, Delta Air Lines, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, Eli Lilly, ExxonMobil, Fedders Corp., Fluor, Ford Motor, General Electric, General Motors, and Goldman Sachs.

Also, Halliburton, Hershey, Hewlett-Packard, Honeywell, IBM, Illinois Tool Works, ITT Industries, John Deere, Johns Manville, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, Kerr-McGhee Chemicals, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Foods, Lear Corp., Levi Strauss, Lockheed Martin, Mattel, Maytag, Merrill Lynch, MetLife, Microsoft, Monsanto, Motorola, Nabisco, Northrop Grumman, Northwest Airlines, Office Depot, Orbitz, Oracle, Otis Elevator, Owens Corning, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Polaroid, Pratt & Whitney, Procter & Gamble, and Prudential Insurance.

Also, Quaker Oats, Radio Shack, Rayovac, Rohm & Haas, Safeway, Sara Lee, Seco Manufacturing, Square D, State Farm Insurance, Target, Tenneco Automotive, Texas Instruments, Time Warner, Tropical Sportswear, TRW Automotive, Tupperware, Tyco Electronics, Union Pacific, UNISYS, United Plastics Group, United Technologies, Verizon, Wachovia Bank, Weyerhaeuser, Xerox, and Zenith.

Why hasn’t the Obama administration taken swift and forceful action to relieve the situation?

Blue Mark's picture
Blue Mark 9 years 12 weeks ago

Yesterday a pair of callers called for reducing Federal worker pay in order to "even it out" with private sector pay. Evening out pay would require raises - not cuts. But President Obama has already ruled that out with his just announced 2 year salary freeze.

The rapid spread of the false notion that federal workers are overpaid can be traced to a hit piece published in USA Today which relied on a superficial and biased CATO study:

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
"At a time when workers' pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employees' average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn, a USA TODAY analysis finds."

The USA Today article is not only wrong, it is a dirty damn lie.

USA Today did an apples to oranges comparison, when you do an apples to apples comparison of workers with similar skills, experience and education, federal workers are making LESS salary than their private industry counterparts, but have better benefits because private industry benefits have been in free fall over the last decade or two.

What USA Today ignored is that most low level federal jobs have been outsourced to private contractors, the janitors and snack shop employees are no longer civil service employees - they work for a private company which has a federal contract and get little or no benefits. The federal government mostly employs professionals and outsources the rest of the jobs.

In fact, just in the last year, even with the economic turmoil of the Great Republican Recession, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/11/federal_salaries_fa... Federal Salaries fell by an average of 2.1 percent compared to equivalent private sector salaries, pushing the salary gap for federal workers to 22% behind the private sector.

A statement from the Office of Personnel Management issued after false stories in the media and from the Cato institute:


OPM Statement on Federal Employee Pay

Recent Comparisons of Federal Pay to Private Sector are Unfair and Untrue[/B]

Monday, August 16, 2010

Washington, DC - Today, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management released the following statement from Director John Berry:

Recent press stories regarding pay for Federal employees compared to private sector workers are unfair and untrue. Simply put, these stories have compared apples to oranges. Federal workers are not paid double the private sector. The Cato Institute and USA Today stories quoting Cato staff (and similar statements from the Heritage Foundation) look only at gross averages, including retail and restaurant service workers and other entry-level positions that reduce private sector average pay in comparison to the Federal average, which does not include many of these categories in its workforce.

The Federal workforce today is highly specialized. Thirty years ago, over 22% of our workforce was in blue collar jobs. Now that percentage has dropped by half while the percentage of IT and Health professionals has doubled. Data clearly show that many of these highly specialized workers - doctors, nurses, cybersecurity professionals - are paid less than their private sector counterparts and are making a significant sacrifice in pay to serve their neighbors.

The wages we pay are fair and the benefits we offer are good. But working for the Federal government is about more than money. People grow up dreaming about working for NASA, or the CIA, or becoming a park ranger, or cancer researcher. We should be applauding these hard-working civil servants - not mischaracterizing them.

It is also worth noting that in this time when so many American families are struggling to make ends meet, the President is committed to making sure the Federal government is spending the taxpayers' money wisely and carefully, and cutting costs wherever possible. Like households and businesses across the country, the Federal Government is tightening its belt. That’s why the President launched the Accountable Government Initiative and has pursued a variety of areas to cut waste and boost efficiency from contracting to improper payments, Federal real property, and unnecessary programs.

- John Berry, Director, United States Office of Personnel Management


When Senator Scott Brown made the claim that federal jobs pay twice as much as private sector jobs, it was rated "FALSE" by Politifact.com http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/feb/03/scott-bro...

making progress's picture
making progress 9 years 12 weeks ago

Derrick Jensen: The Dominant Culture is Killing us



FTLOG please start talking more Meta. All this dwelling and pouring over the gory details of our corrupt society IS depressing. Talk about Solutions and most importantly, HOW DO WE GET THERE FROM HERE? Get Derrick Jensen on Please.

gerald's picture
gerald 9 years 12 weeks ago

Two Thousand years ago in the midst of the Conservative, Militantly, Bellicose, Roman Empire and the parallel Rule of the Ultraconservative Conservative Herodian Kings and Priests, where the death penalty was a broadly used as it has been in Texas and Florida since the Bush advent therein, there came a man who opposed all of that for which they stood. He opposed the death penalty and much forgiving of sexual sins. (The woman caught in adultery John 8:1-11)

He despised greed/avarice which the Bushites Gekko say is Good!. Luke 16:19-31 The avaricious rich man

He opposed violence of any sort; he was by his own admission, "meek and mild." He advocated tolerance and acceptance of others. He offered free health care to any who approached him.

He also refused to condemn or judge others except for the rich who were avaricious and the hypocrites. He opposed judging others, a prime factor in the Bush administration IS judging others Luke 7: 37-42- judging others

He was dismissive of sexuality as a major judgmental concern. Luke 4:4-42 Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well

Jesus was, by the definitions, condemnation and attacks on Liberals by the Bushites and the "Christian" Right, a "bleeding Heart Liberal."

They are indeed correct, because in his opposition to everything for which The Conservative Roman Empire and the Ultraconservative Conservative Herodian Kings and Priests, stood Jesus was and remains a Liberal. There is no way the Church can, without being hypocritical wriggle its way around the reality that one cannot be a Christian and a Conservative, any more than one can be a Christian and support the slaughter in Iraq (A nation 12 times smaller than the USA, and lacking air force and navy at the time of the invasion), and the planned slaughters in Iran, and Venezuela.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 12 weeks ago

Early Christians went to the lions willingly, probably not all of them, but the ones that did are given a special place of honor in Catholic lore.

Also the Christmas we practice now was nothing but a replacement of the ancient Winter Festival of the Romans. I say restore the Winter Festival and remove Christ from it. X-mas just cheapens Christ and glorifies consumerism... better to separate the two as far as I'm concerned. Besides scholars believe that Jesus was born in late spring early summer... perhaps his birthday should usurp Memorial Day, Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day or Independence Day.

Imagine lighting of an M-80 to celebrate the birth of Christ. Of course replacing Fathers' Day has admirable theological arguments, for after all it was at that point in the Bible Judeo-Christians begin to conceive of God as their Father.

Food for thought.


Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

Why does Thom keep calling atheism a religion? Maybe organized or prominent atheists could be considered akin to religious people, but the very definition is Non-religous.

I really like Thom, but this grates every time he says it. I'm an atheistic-leaning agnostic, and I have NO religion, no dogma, no scripture. Atheism is a religion only if "bald" is a hair color.

TJONKPTK's picture
TJONKPTK 9 years 12 weeks ago

Follow Albertism

I follow the teachings of Albert, the insightful janitor on Miracle on 34th Street and agree with the following:

"Yeah, there's a lot of bad 'isms' floatin' around this world, but one of the worst is commercialism. Make a buck, make a buck. Even in Brooklyn it's the same - don't care what Christmas stands for, just make a buck, make a buck."

gerald's picture
gerald 9 years 12 weeks ago

Jamie, good points in your comment!

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 12 weeks ago

@Jamie, its more like Atheism is a religion if bald is a hair style. The belief of "unbelief" can arguably be a religion, its a unique take on spirituality, but spirituality non-the-less. Face it no one knows what actually caused the big bang, the origin of everything. Whether one wants to believe it was the hand of God, an elf fart or just something creating itself from nothing, which is quite a leap of faith in itself, and basically what an Atheist must believe to be honest with their take on reality, well its still faith at this point. We are all creatures that believe in mythologies, because not a single one of us knows the real truth. Like it or not that's the bald facts of reality... no? However at least Atheists are likely to keep digging for the truth, whereas some religions are happy with a six day stint of creation and leave it at that.


Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

@Maxrot, nope. Not really. I don't put any stock or any very hard thought into the origins of everything that is. It isn't my quest. My religion is a null state. I don't have "faith" that there is no god, it is simply a foreign concept that I barely ever think about unless it comes up as it did today on Thom's show. Maybe for other atheists it is different, but calling my lack of belief a "religion" is simply and totally not true.

It's almost like saying that if you never watch TV, that watching "nothing" is your favorite show.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 12 weeks ago

I know you don't have faith in God Jamie, what you have faith in is nothing. Heck your arguing for your faith. Its what you believe, whether you think about it or not (and there are a lot of followers of all religions that don't think about their faith, doesn't mean they don't claim their belief though).


Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

@Maxrot again: And I put that wrong. I said my religion is a null state, and what I meant was, what Thom is calling a religion is a null state for me.

Thom is arguing semantics, and seems to think that prominant atheists speak for all non-believers. They don't. While I'd argue that even organized groups like American Atheists don't constitute a religion, individuals like me who focus about .3% on even pondering religious stuff in our lives certainly are not a religion.

Thom's a very smart guy. I don't know why he can't make room in his head for people who simply have no religion.

Blue Mark's picture
Blue Mark 9 years 12 weeks ago

Zero is a number

Bald is a hair style

Atheism is a belief system

Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

@Blue Mark: Obviously, my analogies are failing.

Put it this way. I used to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Jesus. One by one, I no longer believed in them. After I stopped, I devoted almost no time to thinking of any of them as real entities. I have no ongoing debate, I devote almost zero time to the subject out of arenas like this one. There is no dogma, no doctrine, no place of worship, do daily affirmation, no ANYTHING whatsoever related to my status as a non-believer. Some atheists may prostlytize, but I do not. I've got nothing to sell. Religion is simply absent from my life.

You wanting it to be so doesn't make it so. Is my lack of belief in all of the fictional entities at the top of this post still a "belief in the supernatural?" If you think so, then there can be no more explaining, because we're not using language in the same way.

Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

One more thing, and I'll try to shut up. "Bald" does not equal either a hairstyle or a hair color. It is the lack of hair. It may be AKIN to a hair color or style, but it is not the same thing. Same with atheism/agnosticism as compared to religion. If you were filling out a form, you'd put it into the box marked "religion." But that doesn't make it a religion.

Being defined by what you are not is just irritating.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 12 weeks ago

@Jamie, just because you don't spend time thinking about your faith doesn't mean you don't have it. Don't equate religion as believing in God, or gods or for that matter the supernatural or preternatural. That's not what makes a religion, true they present values, dogmas and disciplines, but all that it takes for a religion to be a religion is for a small group of people to share a set of beliefs. In the case of Atheism, that belief is that there are no superior beings or an afterlife. That's pretty much the dogma of Atheism, if you can't believe there are no superior beings or an afterlife, you cannot be an atheist. Whether or not you dwell on the dogma of your chosen religion or not is irrelevant. Go ahead find an atheist and tell them your an atheist that believes in a god, they'll tell you right then in there you aren't an atheist, your not part of the group, not part of the .... say it with me... religion. You claim Atheism, but then say its not a religion. Thats like picking up a stick and claiming its not an object, because it doesn't resemble a door knob.


Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

@maxrot, by your way of thinking, everything is a religion, and everyone has one. But as an agnostic (not a 100% atheist), I can honestly say that I have no religion.

If for you, lack of hair is a hairstyle, lack of belief in the supernatural is still a "supernatural belief", or if a word like "athiest" which means "lack of belief" is still a belief, as I said, we're not using language in the same way.

If it is possible for a person to have zero religion (and I believe it is), that is where I am. I trust you could understand why someone insisting that I'm religious just hits me as innacurate.

Jayro's picture
Jayro 9 years 12 weeks ago

I confess that my argument hasn't been developed over a long period of time so it's bound to be torn apart. Oh well,here we go.

If you look in Webster's Dictionary (webster.com) each definition of religion contains a reference to faith or God, with one exception. The exception is an archaic use (not included here) and is the only use that Thom could use in defense of his argument. I'm sure he isn't referring to the archaic use.

I'm paraphrasing here but Thom is saying that atheism is a religion because atheists proselytize their cause.

An atheist, or anyone for that matter, can proselytize without being religious. One of the definitions of proselytize is: to recruit someone to join one's party, institution or cause.

The cause doesn't have to be religious. Thom needs to rethink his definition and, as such, his position.

j.sea's picture
j.sea 9 years 12 weeks ago

Thom -- your comments about mystics meant more to me than anything anyone has said in a hundred years. "Mysticism", for want of a better word, is a natural response to true awareness.

What Mystifies the millions of mystics who listen to you -- is how do you manage to be a mystic and still follow the clock enough to run your (powerful gift of a) show? ... We, your fellow mystics, are mystified -- and in awe --

and we say, over and over again;

Thank you.

Blue Mark's picture
Blue Mark 9 years 12 weeks ago

One legal definition of religion is any sincerely held system of belief that occupies the place that is held by traditional religion. There are atheistic religions like some forms of Buddhism and Confucionism. Belief in non-existence is still a system of belief. Therefore, in my view, atheism occupies the same place as traditional religion - since it is a strongly held belief system. I-Don't-Care-ism on the other hand is not.

Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

@BlueMark! THIS! "I-Don't-Care-ism" is precisely where I stand 99% of the time. It is only when these things come up on the radio, the teevee machine or the interwebs that I even think about where I fall on the religious scale.

j.sea's picture
j.sea 9 years 12 weeks ago

some people need to think less, and be aware -- be present to what is happening all around them -- more...

j.sea's picture
j.sea 9 years 12 weeks ago

If those in doubt spent time with trees, with ani-pals, with moss, with stars, with clouds, with rain, with sun... what doubt would be left? We never claim the right the name the unnameable. We respect the the ground of being as being beyond words. Why is this relevant? Because we, as humans, are in the middle of the process of redefining our lives as social beings in relationship to Life (to the Earth).... we are waking up to the fact that we are here -- we are alive for a very short time -- and the gift we have been given is this earth and the love we feel for it and for each other.

rladlof's picture
rladlof 9 years 12 weeks ago

THOM!!!! Wanna blow a gasket? The women as chattel movement gains a foothold. Rapturian ChristoFascists join their ideological brothers, the Taliban, in destroying the humanity of women.


Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 12 weeks ago

@Jamie, as I said before, and repeat, your confusing the classification of religion with common forms of belief systems. Bald is a hair style, it just is. If your a mammal and have no hair on your head your hair style is bald (whether by choice or not). If your a reptile you don't have a hair style, if you're a bird you don't have a hair style. If your a sentient being and delcare a belief system, even if you believe there is nothing to believe in you have faith in nothing. It is quite possible for humans to have no religion though, young children and mentally deficient people who can't conceptualize abstract idea beliefs have no religion, though others may intiate them in theirs (such as parents baptizing a baby).

It seems that you can only conceptualize the word "religion" as pertaining to belief in a higher form of life. Yes religion more often than not does pertain to that, but the word is nothing but short hand for "what is your take on spiritual existance", if your take is there is no spiritual existance, then that is your take on it. Face it if you call yourself agnostic or athesist your identifying yourself in short hand what your take on spirituality is. Don't put more to the definition of religion than what it is, a basic (very basic) outline of what you believe.

Yes there are plenty of fanatical religious people out there, that feel other people must believe what they believe, and try to force their beliefs on others. Yes I understand you don't do that, nor do you think about your faith. But as I pointed out above sometimes people get initiated into a religion, prior to even being able to conceptualize what a belief is, and as they get older, they never think about their belief, never wonder, question or act in accordance to the religion. Those people are probably less religious than you, because they don't even think about it they just accept. But they still belong to belief system. If you were to ask them what they believed they could probably spit out mantra after mantra yet never be able to explain a one of them. However, its that's just a thought experiment, take it or leave it. Perhaps you were raised as an atheist and never thought about why, perhaps you don't have strong feelings about your faith in nothing... but then again if that was the case, why would you post an opinion on the subject. I would bet that at a point in your life you chose to reject what you were taught and instead followed what you reasoned to be true. You came to a point of personal enlightenment... what could be more religious than that? I don't know if I ever came across an atheist who didn't firmly believe in their conclusion, heck I would say most atheist's are devote and have unwavering faith... for after all it takes a lot of self realization to reject the majority, to stand in the minority and claim you know the reality of existence... like a profit in a dessert if you think about it.

Oh and if your not part of an unorganized religion (which I argue that agnostics and atheists are), then why the name Atheist, what does it pertain to then? Does it make you more comfortable to call it an anti-religion like matter has anti-matter? I don't think it makes much difference, the roots of the concepts are still the same.


rladlof's picture
rladlof 9 years 12 weeks ago

@Jayro . . .

The lack of a deity, just like the presence of a deity, can not be proven. Both mental frameworks require an element of faith at their genesis.

One system requires rational logic to be applied to observable occurrences and tangible artifacts and/or objects. The other system requires irrational illogic to be applied to an invisible sky-wizard or some such other whatnot.

As the local raving atheistic Jew of the bunch, I feel the need to point out that the basic argument here is whether there is an entity in the mix. Standing astride both sides of the issue are Reconstructionists who define that entity as a body of concepts (including history, genetics, tradition, rites, yada-yada) sufficient to initiate action/behavior in a specific individual or group of individuals or a social unit or a society.

Under that umbrella, the concept of evangelical atheism exists as a religion. The concept of the lack of an entity is the object of worship.

Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

I stated that I am a atheist-leaning agnostic. I have no belief system as it pertains to religion. None. I said before, no doctrine, no "system," no dogma, no place of worship, no scripture, no appealing to a higher power, no prayer, not even bullet points. I simply find every religion I've ever heard of preposterous.

This argument is going nowhere because we are simply not using language in the same way.

If you belonged to no clubs: not the Rotary, not the Elks, not the Knights of Columbus, not the Moose Lodge, and I insisted that you still belonged to a club that wasn't a club. . .can you see how that might be exasperating?

mdfisher272's picture
mdfisher272 9 years 12 weeks ago

Atheism is not a religion.


Athesim would still exist (as a state of being) even if mankind never invented any of the sectartion beliefs we call religion.


Suppose we knew of an isolated group of humanity living on their own island away from any other human cultures. Further, assume that this tribe of humanity never conceptualized any beleif in any god or gods. This tribe would be accurately described as atheist. They would not be aware of the concept of atheism but that doesn't matter. We, the observers, recognize that state of being and can clearly delineate a culture living in that state of being.

Before anyone responds to this proof by saying "atheism doesn't exist as a concept to that tribe, therefore atheism doesn't exist": Just because you don't recognize the circumstances that you live in, doesn't mean that the circumstance doesn't exist. If I live in a fascist country but I am not aware that I live in a fascist country (through ignorance of the concept) it doesn't change that fact that I live in a fascist country.

If atheism can exist(as a state) without the existance of any religion, by definition, atheism is not a religion.

BTW. The example tribe above is also aspaghettimonsterist, acolonialist, and any number of other concepts they aren't aware of, prefixed with "a".

Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

@mdfisher272: All hail his noodly goodness!

rladlof's picture
rladlof 9 years 12 weeks ago


You are absolutely incorrect. The concept of observer is irrelevant. Additionally, the very positing of an atheistic tribe requires circular logic. Your argument requires suspension of logic for it to stand . . . The very same patterns of illogical irrationality you ascribe to theists is required.

The words 'atheism' and 'atheist' are defined as the lack of theism. If there were no theism, the concept of atheism would wholly lack reference and much more likely would never exist. There would only be that which is . . . Which would be nothing, void, nada, less than zero . . .

Blue Mark's picture
Blue Mark 9 years 12 weeks ago

One can have a religion without being a member of an organized "club", denomination, sect, group etc.

Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

@Blue Mark, you can have religion without belonging to an organized group. But if you belong to no clubs, no religions at all: you were the kid in High School with ZERO activities, somone else INSISTING that you are in a clubless club, or an inactive activity. . .well, it wants to make you bang your head against a wall.

rladlof's picture
rladlof 9 years 12 weeks ago

Jamie from the land of Lost Wages,

The issue is “What actuates your actions and thoughts?” As a sentient being, do you initiate all your actions? Are you, yourself, the origin of all you do, think and are OR do you blame the crap you do on an external force/being/concept? Are you purely the effect of cause OR are you responsible for all that which you do?

The ire and offense that more expressive atheists express when they feel one of their central core beliefs have been attack or diminished precisely mirrors the ire and offense that folk who require belief in an entity to rationalize their unaddressed need to handle the unfathomable.

I will admit that ascribing the very quality of beingness to the concept procribing that very quality of beingness is very human. Again, Sky-wizards are not required for this conversation.

Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

There you go, I'm re-li-gion-less!

opedwriter's picture
opedwriter 9 years 12 weeks ago


Your definition of religion - as evangelism - relies on a Christian model. But if you look at Judaism, it would not qualify as a religion under that definition. Groups like Chabad only preach greater observance to other Jews, and the Orthodox model is to turn away those wishing to convert 3 times.

rladlof's picture
rladlof 9 years 12 weeks ago

@ Blue MARK:

Religion is a collection of beliefs and rites that can be held by a majority of one . . . The issue is that with only one would the concept of language exist for the concept of religion fashioned from?

mdfisher272's picture
mdfisher272 9 years 12 weeks ago

Einstein proved that the concept of oberver is not only relevant but absolutely necessary. There is no possibility of accurate measurement without the presence of an observer. This is considerd basic logic.

I gave no circular logic. I could just as easily posited that the tribe was told about a god or many gods but then they chose to just treat the tales as fiction. Now, they still have no concept of "atheism" but they are explicitly atheist. Whether they have a word for atheism or not is irrelevant. They are still existing in the atheist state.

It's like you are trying to say that if you don't have a word for a concept that the concept doesn't exist. No reasonable person believes that.

Ignorance of a concept does not undefine that concept.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 12 weeks ago

You have to let go of your definition of the word religion. Don't confuse the word with a belief in something. Its completely logical to have a belief in nothing. When claiming you believe in nothing, then you by default believe in nothing. You can define yourself by what you're not, but that doesn't mean you don't exist, because you say your not like anything else. If you are incapable of abstract thought, then you are incapable of believing in anything. That's not the same as holding a belief in nothing.

Atheism is a religion, an unorthodox religion.


mdfisher272's picture
mdfisher272 9 years 12 weeks ago

As for the labeling of us atheists:

Religious people self-appropriated the phrase "evangelical" as part of their own identity. Outsiders didn't tar them with the label until it stuck.

When Thom labels us "evangelical atheists" he is insulting our beliefs and by extension, us. Thom, using his bully pulpit, is being chauvanist. Atheists do not self-identify as "evangelical atheists" no more than black people identify themselves with the phrase "colored people".

How would you like me to label your beleifs Thom? How does "chauvanist theist" fit?

Now imagine that I have a syndicated radio show and I kept repeating the label I want to tar you with, day after day: "chauvanist theist", "chauvanist theist".

On many occasions Thom has admonished callers for unfairly labeling others. Time to practice what you preach Mr. Hartmann.

rladlof's picture
rladlof 9 years 12 weeks ago


I concur . . . Evangelism is not religion. Evangelism is an aspect of some religions. This line of argument would have flipped Thom’s assertions and forced a re-definition of terminology. On the other hand, folk tend to think of it as a defining characteristic of Christianity BUT it the practice is not confined to Christians . . . There is imprecision in your languaging.

Side Note: There were times at the Hebrews were more proselytizing . . . It tended to work out badly over time . . . Herod, who was a vicious, murderous tyrant, was the fruit of forced conversion. Additionally, while followers of Shammai would tend to turn potential converts away . . . Followers of Hillel would be more likely to emulate their intellectual leader by immediately converting folk . . . Ascribing traditions of some Jews who call themselves “Orthodox” to Jews as whole can be problematic at best.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 12 weeks ago


Simply answer that, if Atheisem is not a religion than what is it, because every argument against it being a religion is simply that, a claim that it's not a religion, yet never have I heard what it is, what to contrast it to.


rladlof's picture
rladlof 9 years 12 weeks ago

In Eastern thought, the belief in nothing is Taoism.

In Western thought, the belief in nothing is Existentialism.

All hail the void!

rladlof's picture
rladlof 9 years 12 weeks ago


By your own reasoning: Ignorance of a concept does not undefine that concept . . . Ignorance of a deity does not negate that entity.

The logic in your original example is circular. The outcome is dependent directly on the supposition which is the outcome. Your observation on words and concepts is an example of inverted reasoning. Not all animals are white horses. Consider purchasing a book on rhetoric and logic.

And yes, if there is no matrix in which to codify a concept it can not exist. This is why I bellow at Libertarians and Objectivists . . . The very language they design their collection of individuals bullshit in is the ultimate societal construct . . . LANGUAGE. So, if there is no idea for another to be defined as the "absence of" there is no idea. The state of existence may remain unchanged but no one would ever decide to label what is by that which isn't unless there was a group of jack_holes running about making up sh**, the universe would simply be.


Atheism is a mental construct, a philosophy, that some fanatics treat in the very same manner that some faith-based religious fanatics treat their mental constructs. Atheism by definition describes the state of existence without a divine being. Some atheists so miss the divine being, they elevate the concept of atheism into divinity and ascribe it beingness . . . Thus wallowing in the very thing they dispise BUT that is not the true nature of atheism.

rladlof's picture
rladlof 9 years 12 weeks ago


Jamie in Las Vegas's picture
Jamie in Las Vegas 9 years 12 weeks ago

Cold is the absence of heat. Atheism is the absence of religion. Atheism isn't actually anything, it is the lack of something. Exactly the way a non-smoker compares to a smoker. They are defined by what they aren't but that is only a category if you make smokers the default.

[Edited for attrocious typing]

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 9 years 12 weeks ago

@rladlof, when you get down to it are not all religions a mental construct, a philosophy?


debharig's picture
debharig 9 years 12 weeks ago

When I came in to work this morning, there was a statement as to the federal government's policy as to the feds owning my work computer. We were told to agree that they could look to see any place that we go on our work computers.

A coworker went to see what was going on with Wikileaks. Her computer was frozen--IT could not find a problem and that there were no viruses.

I feel that the feds are looking to anyone that went to see what Wikileaks was leaking.

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