Does Atheism harm the fabric of America?

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Does Atheism harm the fabric of America?

Poll ended at Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:48 pm

No, America wasn't created for Christians
9
90%
Maybe, because non-religious people are bad
0
No votes
Yes, because America was created for Christians
1
10%
 
Total votes : 10

Postby spongebob » Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:10 am

koin4life wrote:I'll try and answer your questions later, but in regards to the last comment you made, I view it as the stereotyped atheist that is a harm to society. If an atheist values many things, and lives a good life, then they are not a harm to society, and in fact they help society. The question becomes is the beliefs of an atheist considered morally right? After all, if an atheist feels it is acceptable to do all bad things, that doesn't make it right, same if a Christian feels it is acceptable to do all bad things.


So, we're talking good citizenship here, right? I mean obey the law, refrain from antagonizing neighbors, behave responsibly, be charitable. Would that do it? If we could get a "Nice Atheist" badge or something, would that alieve some of the anxiety that theists have about us? Or do we need better PR?
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Postby mikedsjr » Wed Apr 05, 2006 6:17 am

sponge, that really has nothing to do with it. It really is a change of heart on the Christians part to act more Christian-like. But do I think that will happen? No. History says no, too.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens
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Postby koin4life » Wed Apr 05, 2006 6:21 am

I would say better PR. I've met several atheists, including those on this board, that sound like very good people. Would I rather have a Christian that is not a good person or an atheist that is a good person? Well, if it means the Christian turns others away from Christ, then I would definitely go with the atheist.

I think the problem is that certain atheists are too loud when it comes to certain areas (as are Christians like Pat Robertson). An example I can think of is the constant suing for anything the deem to be a religious symbol so that now even the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are considered a Christian symbol, when they are not. Crosses being put up on the high way to symbolize fallen highway patrol officers. Now, if either A) the state is paying for the crosses and refuses to pay for another symbol, such as the star of David, then I would say no. But if someone wants to remember an officer that died in the line of duty, and that officer happened to be a christian, and thus they want to put up a cross, it should be allowed. The government is not establishing any religion there (as long as all religions and non-religions are treated the same). So, if an atheist patrol officer died, and the family wanted to put up something to honor that officer, as long as it is not obscene (which I doubt it would be), they should be able to.
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Postby stickmangrit » Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:59 am

we're loud because we are a rather small and often ignored minority. our concerns are considered invalid by many people in power. because the fact is that the psycho-fundies like Robertson have the ears of a lot of people, and that power give them the ability to be strong lobbyists. as a result, many laws and state actions are passed through the system with nary a thought to the non-christian religions. see all of the hooplah regarding the Ten Commandments in public buildings for examples thereof (an action that got me into a bit of hot water with some teachers when i vehemently argued against it in a Catholic school in eighth grade). i've seen no Stars of David, nor Atheist circles outside of any state legislature. i could pretend that they've managed the most stunningly accurate portrayl of the Invisible Pink Unicorn (blessed be her hooves) outside the court house, but that's just not the same. that christianity is lauded above all other religions to the point that when Wal-Mart greeters choose to acknowledge the entirety of their customer base by saying "Happy Holidays," Fallwell and crew interpret it as a "War on Christmas." this s*** is insane.

now, i agree that the Easter bunny and Santa Claus have become totally secular figures, and if i ever have children, i intend to celebrate Christmas and Easter with them, and have much opening of presents and finding of eggs, just no church or jesus.
I see as much misery outta them movin' to justify theirselves as them that set out to do harm.
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Postby spongebob » Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:20 am

koin4life wrote:I would say better PR. I've met several atheists, including those on this board, that sound like very good people. Would I rather have a Christian that is not a good person or an atheist that is a good person? Well, if it means the Christian turns others away from Christ, then I would definitely go with the atheist.


I appreciate the kind words, koin. In other words, you don't sound like you are afraid of going to hell just for talking to me. Sounds silly, but I've met Christians who feel this way. Such is their paranoia.

I think the problem is that certain atheists are too loud when it comes to certain areas (as are Christians like Pat Robertson). An example I can think of is the constant suing for anything the deem to be a religious symbol so that now even the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are considered a Christian symbol, when they are not. Crosses being put up on the high way to symbolize fallen highway patrol officers. Now, if either A) the state is paying for the crosses and refuses to pay for another symbol, such as the star of David, then I would say no. But if someone wants to remember an officer that died in the line of duty, and that officer happened to be a christian, and thus they want to put up a cross, it should be allowed. The government is not establishing any religion there (as long as all religions and non-religions are treated the same). So, if an atheist patrol officer died, and the family wanted to put up something to honor that officer, as long as it is not obscene (which I doubt it would be), they should be able to.


Yes, this is exactly the substance I was hoping for. Offensive behavior is one thing and I can't support or condone irresponsible behavior by anyone, including an atheist. And I've seen some of this bad behavior, but it is truly rare. That may be at the heart of the fear element in society. Christians still take unnecessary offense at some issues. Madalyn Murry O'hare's cause to remove school prayer and religious slogans from our currency are soundly based in the Constitution and should not have riled religious folk as they did. But Christians still hold the grudge against all atheists, once naming her "the most hated woman in America." Hold on, can a Christian really *hate* someone for asking for religious freedom? Her action was to remove a religious dictate that was unconstitutional. What was the action of the theists? Why, they threatened her children with violence. It is coflicts like these that truly shows our colors. If a person who parades as a Christian can be incited to violence simply because they are not allowed to force their dogma on others, then can they really say they are behaving morally? I think not.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Postby koin4life » Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:45 am

In other words, you don't sound like you are afraid of going to hell just for talking to me. Sounds silly, but I've met Christians who feel this way. Such is their paranoia.


Yeah, Christians often lose focus on things, like everybody else. If a Christian is supposed to evangelize to others, then getting mad at them or calling them names doesn't really help that cause. Christians need to realize that it takes more effort to win someone over through kindness than it would to lose them due to meanness.
Hold on, can a Christian really *hate* someone for asking for religious freedom?
God doesn't so why should Christians? After all, if Christianity believes that God gave free will to his creation, how can Christians go against someone asking for free will (in regards to religion).

Although I think it is important for Christians to be concerned with many political things, I think their approach is often the wrong one, and it causes people to become more polarized. As an example, Christians should be concerned if there is a rising number of atheists. However, by trying to make government laws promoting their religion won't help at all. Instead, they should talk to atheists to see why they feel that way, and try and address those issues.
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Postby spongebob » Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:37 pm

koin4life wrote:
Christians need to realize that it takes more effort to win someone over through kindness than it would to lose them due to meanness.


I think you got yourself tongue-tied, koin. But I totally agree. It's the old wisdom that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You could probably make a case that antagonistic atheists do their cause more harm than good as well.

Although I think it is important for Christians to be concerned with many political things, I think their approach is often the wrong one, and it causes people to become more polarized. As an example, Christians should be concerned if there is a rising number of atheists. However, by trying to make government laws promoting their religion won't help at all. Instead, they should talk to atheists to see why they feel that way, and try and address those issues.


Ok, this is too cool. :smt057 Why do we agree on this so well? It's this polarization that is the real damage to society. Two groups who won't even talk to one another can never hope to solve problems to the satisfaction of both. It becomes an arms race for extermination. I just wish I came into *personal* contact with more Christians with this attitude.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Postby koin4life » Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:24 am

I just wish I came into *personal* contact with more Christians with this attitude.


Do you mean hugging personal contact, or punching in the face pesonal contact? :D
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Postby spongebob » Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:17 am

koin4life wrote:
I just wish I came into *personal* contact with more Christians with this attitude.


Do you mean hugging personal contact, or punching in the face pesonal contact? :D


:smt068 :smt068

:smt068 :smt068 :smt059

:smt068 :smt068
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
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Postby narsil » Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:27 pm

Irrational Entity wrote:koin4life, not attempting to derail the thread, but what about we homosexuals who are not promiscuous and would be quite happy in a monogamous relationship with the right person? Your objections seem to be concerns about disease and breakups than homosexuality of itself.

For what it's worth, Mr. Entity, I'll give you my opinion on the subject. I had a gay roomate in college, and we talked about it a bunch. And I'd have to admit that monogamous homosexual relationships worry me much less than do heterosexual divorces. I just don't care what 2 people do in the bedroom too much. I still say its wrong, but it doesn't bother me, and I think you have the right to do wrong things that don't affect other people (for the most part). I have never seen a divorce (well, maybe 1 or 2) that didn't affect everyone involved (especially kids) in a very negative way. I do think there is an irrational fear of gay people, but much of that is due to people's own insecurities and that particular community forcing the issue into every aspect of our lives and telling us we have to accept it. For instance gay marriage, sorry, that's just not right. There is no sense in forcing the redefining of a word for an entire culture. That's just pushing everyone's buttons the wrong way. But if a gay couple wants some of the same benefits that married couples do with regard to hospital visitation, and property rights, and inheritance, and so on, I say we come up with a word for that, and give them some of the rights, there is no reason to make their lives harder. However I think governements have the responsiblity to encourage values and activities that lead to stronger societies, and I'm not sure that would qualify as such, in the same way that marraige does.

With regard to the other issues, the legislation of morality is a tough one for me. I don't have a good answer for it. I feel you have a responsibilty to encourage good behavior and I don't have a problem with the government saying what they think good behavior is or something. It's just I feel very stongly that people have the right to be wrong and to do stupid things, that's the americian way. :D
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Postby stickmangrit » Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:58 pm

you guys never had a problem with it when the government got two straight people together and called it marriage, despite having no religious afilliation whatsoever. and there are actual churches that administer gay marriage, so the term's not so much redefined as kept exactly the same, the union of two people in an everlasting bond. so if you all could please quit raising hell over a stupid semantics argument, let's all get back to the fact that our president is running the country into the sh**er. gay marriage is on page fifty four of our problems, right after "are we eating too much garlic as a people?"
I see as much misery outta them movin' to justify theirselves as them that set out to do harm.
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Postby Irrational Entity » Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:07 pm

That sounds reasonable, narsil. I respect your right to be wrong on the issue. :)

...and to somewhat on topic, on a general level I would say "no," but remember there are terrible atheistic and religious views. (What is with the created for Christians part?)
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Postby spongebob » Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:09 pm

narsil wrote:
I still say its wrong, but it doesn't bother me, and I think you have the right to do wrong things that don't affect other people (for the most part). I have never seen a divorce (well, maybe 1 or 2) that didn't affect everyone involved (especially kids) in a very negative way. I do think there is an irrational fear of gay people, but much of that is due to people's own insecurities and that particular community forcing the issue into every aspect of our lives and telling us we have to accept it. For instance gay marriage, sorry, that's just not right. There is no sense in forcing the redefining of a word for an entire culture. That's just pushing everyone's buttons the wrong way. But if a gay couple wants some of the same benefits that married couples do with regard to hospital visitation, and property rights, and inheritance, and so on, I say we come up with a word for that, and give them some of the rights, there is no reason to make their lives harder. However I think governements have the responsiblity to encourage values and activities that lead to stronger societies, and I'm not sure that would qualify as such, in the same way that marraige does.


Narsil, I can't speak for the gay community, but I would not be surprised if they were glad to accept ALL the rights of marriage if Christians wanted to call it something else. But doesn't it seem pedantic to carry on so much over one word--*marriage*? It's my experience that this is not the case. Christians disapprove of a gay lifestyle and basically want to banish it from society. They are appalled at the thought of a gay couple adopting and raising a child, fearing this will spread the disease of homosexuality. Extreme Christians are vocal about their wishes to outlaw gay behavior and harshly punish them, as they were in the not-to-distant past. They deny any genetic connection to homosexuality and insist it is an immoral, evil lifestyle of choice. It's plain to me that this is the true source of the aggressiveness from the gay community. These people have organized and become a force to reckon with out of pure survival. I don't think most Christians appreciate this notion and just keep on hating them and escalating the arms race.
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Postby narsil » Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:06 am

stickmangrit wrote:you guys never had a problem with it when the government got two straight people together and called it marriage, despite having no religious afilliation whatsoever. and there are actual churches that administer gay marriage, so the term's not so much redefined as kept exactly the same, the union of two people in an everlasting bond. so if you all could please quit raising hell over a stupid semantics argument, let's all get back to the fact that our president is running the country into the sh**er. gay marriage is on page fifty four of our problems, right after "are we eating too much garlic as a people?"


there actually was considerable protest to that, what was essentially a religious institution became a civil one. I'm not saying that I don't agree with it, but there was protest to it. People said that that governement would start allowing anyone to get married, but people assured the religious community it wouldn't happen. (I'm not sure when this happened here in the states actually, I am more familar with this issue in Spain's politics, as it happened not so long ago when Franco lost power). Once the government makes marraige a civil institution, I'm not sure on what grounds it can refuse the union between any two things, except by popular opinion. There doesn't seem to be a morality to which the government can appeal.

While I agree that some Christians are very vocal about it, it's hardly just Christians, a lot of people, from whatever background, hate gays, and they just like to use a Christian reason to hate it cause they can't think of their own. People do this to the Bible al the time, just grab something they find useful. The signs that say that "God hates fags" really should just read "I'm an angry ars-hole, and gays make me feel uncomfortable." To say that Christians can't say something is wrong and still be tolerant isn't right.

Why is it wrong? I'll make it real simple I think. I've had this debate numerous times, with homosexual people that understand the bible very well, and so I'll skip the details. Sex outside of marriage is wrong. God created marriage, way back in Genesis, between a man and a woman. There you go. It's that simple. And that's why marriage is kinda important.

What are Christians worried about gay people for? Not sure. I mean Rome was flammingly gay, and Christianity did just fine. Someone tried to tell me that it would lead to the downfall of America, because every society that embraced that lifestyle has fallen. But then, every society has fallen, so that's not really great logic.

Once we've lost the Christian underpinning of morality in America (and perhaps it's gone already), from where do you guys think morality should come from? Just pragmatism? Majority rule? If 51% of people think that the gay lifestyle is wrong, is it? What about other sexual behaviors? Should two 13 year olds be allowed to have sex? (I'll refrain from bringing animals into this, as is often the case) What about pedafiles? There really is evidence to show that they are born that way and can't change (which would seem to throw out the "I'm born this way" arguement, but for some reason it doesn't). I'm not at all equating pedafiles to homosexuals, by the way, I'm just trying to ask about other sexual orrientations.
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Postby stickmangrit » Sat Apr 08, 2006 9:09 am

weeeeelll...

how we decide morality? does the action in question bring harm to others.

as for sexual orientation, are the individuals involved both capable of educated consent. the consensus is that that does not happen until the age of eighteen, and as such, we aren't allowed to touch eleven year olds, because they are too young to fully grasp the situation.
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