Christian/Atheist Ground Rules for Discussion

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by nbs2, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #1
    So, I was doing some reading, and ended up at this article. Nothing mind blowing, nothing incredible. But, I think it does make some solid points as to things that we really should all be agreeing on. I also think that agreeing on them would make for significantly less animosity in political discussions when people realize that a lot of those points can be applied to a lot of groups that are at each others' throats.
     
  2. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #2
    I haven't waded through all of it, but try putting the first two points to some of our denizens (you know who you are) and you won't get very far. Anyone who supports a pre-emptive war, anyone who cheered when Saddam Hussein, his sons, or Zarqawi were killed, anyone who thinks dropping bombs from high altitude onto cities is acceptable, anyone who ..... you get the idea, I'm sure.
     
  3. nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #3
    That was what I liked about the article - it brought up a lot of points that I think many (most? all?) of the folks here, including myself, really hadn't thought about. The Hussein and Fallwell threads are both full of a lot of hate - I don't even have to hunt them down to remember that.
     
  4. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #4
    Not many disagreed with the execution of Hussein, that's for sure. A not inconsiderable number of others have been all for raining death and destruction, nuclear or conventional, on all sorts of "others", many self-professed "Christians" among them. So, when the article states that Christians and Atheists "should" agree on these points, it is clearly at odds with reality.
     
  5. 66217 Guest

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    #5
    I think one thing that sometimes create controversies is that when a self-professed Christian makes something bad, people tend to VERY quickly note that he/she was Christian.

    And being or not being Christian shouldn't really matter, there are some principles that everyone should follow, because after all, all of us are human beings. So pointing out that the person who did something bad considered himself Christian is just something that doesn't really helps.


    EDIT:
    For example, saying that "a self-professed atheist killed someone" or "a self-professed christian killed someone" shouldn't be necessary, since both have the same human rules to follow. Let the fellow Christian friends or authorities judge them in their religion.
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #6
    Ah, but if those self-professed "religionists" - whatever their creed - like to wear their righteousness on their sleeve while they judge everyone else for not conforming to their own skewed, frightened and blinkered dogmatic "truths", then their hypocrisy needs to be highlighted. And if these people use their claim of righteousness to hoodwink their gullible co-religionists into placing the apparatus of state into their undeserving hands, we must all point out the disconnect as often and as loudly as we can.
     
  7. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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    #7
    Very well stated! I am impressed; not out of surprise, but out of admiration.
     
  8. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #8
    Thats very well said, skunk. But to what end should we point out that disconnect. Should we try to show all religionists the error of their ways?

    One interesting thing about that article is that it puts Christians and other religious folk on a level playing field with atheists. That may be uncomfortable to some. Because its difficult to criticize when someone may be guilty of some or most of the same things people are being criticized about.

    OT: How is the air in the abyss this time of year. I've heard its very pleasant.
     
  9. 66217 Guest

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    #9
    That's why I said sometimes.:)

    In that cases it should be noted that they used their religion for incorrect purposes. Making it in a formal and constructive way, that way even the fellow members of his religion would be careful to don't let happen that again within their members.

    And I find that sometimes newspapers tend to use one single case of a person belonging to a certain religion in a way it sounds like they are generalizing that many more people of that religion do the same things.

    I hope I explained my self in a clear way.:p
     
  10. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

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    #10
    I didn't read every word of the link, but it was kind of interesting.

    I especially thought the end was good. I've always felt that preaching and religious debate should only be done within a church and its members. Most atheists I've known who have converted to Christianity did not do it because someone on a street corner was screaming at them to repent or go to hell. It was because they knew someone who was a Christian, who by the example of their life made them think it was worth trying/practicing. This was done without the scare tactics of preaching doom and destruction.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. In the Bible, the people who were flat out condemned over and over again by Jesus were religious hypocrites. Ironic huh?
     
  11. 66217 Guest

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    #11
    Very true. In fact, there is one passage that has always taken my attention. It is in the Apocalypse, I'll quote it:

    I've always thought the Apocalypse is strange, and also complicated, but it is one of the most interesting parts of the Bible. Not that I have read all of the Bible, I've read mostly only the New Testament and what we read at mass.

    The interpretation they taught me at my school was that to the cold ones God rejects them from heaven, the warm ones he embraces them in heaven, but the lukewarm he spits them out. It's kinda like saying that it is much worse to live a life where you pretend to be a good Catholic, but in reality you are just an hypocrite. And I could continue talking about this, but I'll stop.:)
     
  12. JurgenWigg macrumors 6502

    JurgenWigg

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    #12
    It was a well written article, but I had a HUGE problem with how he equated morality and abstraction with religion.

    Over and over he was talking about how atheists use abstract emotions like "love" or justice or morality in general and how those were the domain of religion. However, without religion, we still have law, we still have order, we still have JUSTICE. We still behave on a certain set of moral norms because of GAME THEORY, what is best for ourselves and the group - we don't kill not because it's morally wrong, but because we wouldn't stand much of a chance of surviving if we were expelled from the community for being a risk factor.

    The whole love comment is just stupid. People use love to describe an emotion that's essentially a chemical response. The author tried to make it sound like it made a difference if you said "love" or "chemical response".

    I'm sick of this argument as well: "If there is nothing beyond the physical, then your ability to choose your actions vanishes along with God and Heaven and the angels. It was an atheist professor who told me that, in a class on ethics." Wrong. Yes we have neural pathways that light up when decisions are made and based on previous experience and so on you could probably predict what's going to happen. However, that's only in an isolated system with no external stimuli. Once you add in a new experience, something that no neural pathways exist for, it's totally new realm and a new decision. You can only dabble in probabilities, no one, not even God can be omniscient. Free will is here to stay.

    So, some good, some bad.
     
  13. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #13
    If everyone would just agree that it's impossible to have a monopoly on morality, religion could become the personal belief it should be.
     
  14. Shotglass macrumors 65816

    Shotglass

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    #14
    I'm so sick of the hypocrite argument. Hypocrisy is omnipresent, regardless of religious orientation. You have to bang these people over the head without making a big deal out of it. If you do, they get loads of attention. And loads of attention for the wrong people is always a bad thing.
     
  15. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #15
    This is something I find really odd. Why haven't so many christians (or people of any religion) read the bible (or corresponding holy book) in its entirety? I really don't understand it at all. It's not as if it's a particularly large book, and if you're going to devote your life to a deity shouldn't you at least be aware (and do them the courtesy) of reading all their divine words? If you're getting it second hand through someone else's interpretation at mass you're missing out on context and working over meaning for yourself. Once that's tainted you're always going to looking through someone else's glasses at that passage. I've read the bible probably half a dozen times from cover to cover and have found it interesting and engaging, as I did with the Qur'an. Holy books are fascinating, why not go the whole hog and devote a few hours to read them all the way through?
     
  16. 66217 Guest

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    #16
    Well, I'm still 20 years old. Let me have a little fun.;)

    In mass we do read the Bible. Not all, but several parts. As for why I haven't read the whole Bible, I think it is a mixture of a lot of things. Age, time, laziness, etc. You know, even tho I consider myself a good Catholic, I am far from being the perfect Catholic. But as I said, I do have read a majority of the Bible.

    So give me time and I'll read it, I asure you. And out of curiosity, I don't know for sure, but I guess you are older than me? Correct me if I am wrong.:eek:

    And as for why many persons don't read the Bible, I would say that it is because you don't really need to. I mean, it helps A LOT knowing your religion and its foundations, but there is really just one big commandement: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." And the Ten Commandments also.
     
  17. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #17
    Reading is fun :p!

    I'm 29 so yeah older :). I did read it through the first time when I was 11 or 12 when I got a good news bible from my grandparents for christmas which had a few B&W pictures! I remember being amazed at how thin the paper was it was printed on and thought it must have been expensive seeing it was so different to my other books. I've still got it actually although it's soft cover and the binding is coming away, but it's still go an inscription from my deceased grandparents so it's sentimental :). Got a nice hard cover king james these days....

    I figured this would be the answer, but I guess I still don't fully appreciate it. Seems a bit of a cop out to dismiss what are your deity's very limited earthly words as not required reading ;). I'd urge you to tackle it. It's very interesting, as is the Qur'an. They give you a great deal of insight into how people shape their opinions and actions. Not that I'm an expert by any means :).
     
  18. Shotglass macrumors 65816

    Shotglass

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    #18
    Could not agree more. Ever. There's so much misinterpretation and mistranslation around that by now has been accepted and is taught all around the world. It makes me sick.
     
  19. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #19
    well i would say it's not really that important as long as you can get the interpretation right ... after all when reading on your own you are not bound to understand everything correct either

    holy texts can be fascinating but only after you learned about history, biology, philosophy and most important media theory ... i have taken some university classes on such stuff and then you actually realize how professional work is actually done in many churches in points of theology/philosophy (even looking back during my childhood 15 years ago when we were sitting in church looking at fancy paintings on the roof instead of listening)
    there is a lot of stuff to ridicule/criticize the catholic church for but their theological institutions are not the reason for it ... (i saw a report few days ago where they showed some church in the US where the one holding the mass has not even studied theology ... :rolleyes:)


    personally i would equal reading the bible to reading a math book which covers different historic methods from cover to cover
     
  20. Cleverboy macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

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    #20
    I made a very similar post on my blog a long time ago.
    http://weblog.xanga.com/gryphondwb/560163530/expect-the-expected.html

    Aside from pointing out various websites and movements, at the time, I'd run across an interesting interview on Charlie Rose with noted scientist E.O.Wilson, about what our "cost" is:
    At some point later, I make the comment:
    That's definitely where I still come down on the topic.

    ~ CB
     
  21. nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #21
    I think a lot of folks are willing to trust religious leaders and commentary for insight on what they "should" believe, and are willing to accept it if either a) they buy into the religion or whatever the guy is spouting or b) it just makes sense to the person.

    I think the sheer volume of the volumes also makes it overwhelming. Just like when I've picked up O-Chem books or some of my friends have picked up some of my old casebooks. You believe that what they contain is fact, for whatever reason, and you might try and make sense out of it on occasion, but you just don't have the, as takao points out, historical and contextual understanding.

    But, back OT, I think the author's point, that the distinction of love and chemical response is that a chemical response is a detached view - something that we should be able to consciously override. When I see a news report that someone abused their kid, for example, I want to beat the life out of them. But, I override that neuro-chemical response. In the same way, love, if we were to treat it as a purely chemical response, we wouldn't do stupid things for. The emotion of "love" is something that we ascribe to something more abstract.

    What I took away from the article is that I should be proud to view that abstraction as something God-given, but I should accord an atheist his view that it is not, but rather abstract in a way that I simply don't get - but can accept, and expect the same accommodation in return.
     
  22. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    I honestly believe that if the majority of professing Christians read the Bible, our entire world would begin to change. Jesus lays out some very difficult challenges to his people and if people took a lot of them seriously, they would approach life in a much different maner. I know I did.

    That being said, I can understand why some people can't find the time. I personally wish I had more time to spend reading it. That actually translates to "I personally wish I put reading the Bible at a higher priority than other things in my life that take up so much of my time." To me it is sad that I read the Bible less than I read other books and less than I read stuff on the internet.
     
  23. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #23
    But how many times do you need to read the bible though? You could get the good book on cd and listen to in the car. :D What some of those religious folk do is do more in depth study of the bible via teachings from Beth Moore or study translations.
     
  24. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #24
    Most of the time, as skunk touched on, only when Christianity is used as a reason, or if the person was known to be a person who wears the Bible on their sleeves. Especially when they do something antithetical to what their religion is supposed to stand for. And the same happens to Muslims, sometimes even when it has nothing to do with Islam. If a noted atheist were to kill a bunch of people, running around yelling "there is no God", we'd probably see a headline saying "Atheist Goes On Killing Spree" or the like.

    If you're going to use it as the basis for an argument, and claim it the ultimate truth, why you believe what you do, it should not only be read in full, but understood. It is not always it seems, sometimes even by it's most vocal supporters. Especially the understanding part. They take pieces, using them as a basis for what they believe, using it as an excuse for things that have no other reasoning. Some simply use whatever a preacher tells them, who themselves may have an agenda, which is a very lazy way to God, and often leads to getting a lot lost in translation.

    Kinda our problem with those we find religious hypocrites.

    See above.

    That may be an excuse for the casual believer, but not those who claim moral authority, which are those we have a problem with.

    We do stupid things for a lot of reasons. And we don't have to act on love. Especially when it's not returned, or something else ruins it. It is more than chemical, I'll give you that, but that doesn't mean it has to be derived from God. It might be though, I don't know.

    Something like that, yeah.
     
  25. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

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    #25
    got bored by that link.

    I'm an atheist, but I really don't care if somebody is religious. My Wife believe in God, her Mom is a regular at church, my best friend is a Muslim, I've done a religious reading in a church for a close friends wedding, my Dad's funeral service was held in a Church where I did a speech (and gave them a £200 projector screen, as I had one that I didn't need and they needed one).

    I just don't believe in God, but that doesn't make me a bad person, doesn't mean I have less moral's than somebody who does believe in God, doesn't mean I love less than anyone else, doesn't mean I can't celebrate Christmas (I've already stated here how I feel about that) I just live by one simple rule, 'Don't be an arsehole'.
     

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