Atheism and the appeal to consequence

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    Jul 16, 2013 3:05 PM GMT
    I stumbled upon a video by Youtube vlogger Karen Straughan. In one of her videos, she talks about atheism and the appeal to consequence. (Starts at 18:04 mark and ends at 25:20)



    She raises some interesting points in these quotes:

    "Atheism is about a commitment to the objective truth however nice, or uncomfortable, or pretty, or ugly, or beneficial, or harmful it might be. Atheism cares about objectivity and reality, not consequences. It cares about facts, not feelings. It cares about evidence, not the greater good."


    " [That] 'Religion is harmful, and cruel, and limiting, and mean' is an emotional argument, and it is an irrelevant one."
    (Edit: Irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists)


    So here are a few questions for the atheists here (the first two taken directly from her video):

    -If compelling empirical evidence existed that theism created more just and prosperous societies than atheism does, would you still be an atheist?

    -If compelling historical evidence existed that indicated atheism [caused] increased rates of poverty, crime, suffering, anti-social behavior, violence, war, bad grammar, and STDs...would you still be an atheist?

    -If religion did not and never did repress sexuality and oppress others, would you still be an atheist?

    (In the interest of full disclosure, I self-identify as Agnostic. And no, I'm not trying to "convert" any of you godless heathens icon_wink.gif )
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    Jul 16, 2013 3:43 PM GMT
    She said,

    ""Atheism is about a commitment to the objective truth however nice, or uncomfortable, or pretty, or ugly, or beneficial, or harmful it might be. Atheism cares about objectivity and reality, not consequences. It cares about facts, not feelings. It cares about evidence, not the greater good."


    " [That] 'Religion is harmful, and cruel, and limiting, and mean' is an emotional argument, and it is an irrelevant one."

    Wow...I sure disagree with her on that, and I'm Christian.
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    Jul 16, 2013 3:46 PM GMT
    She should have said, "Religion *can* be..." just like anything else in the world.
    I mean, you could find a roll of hundreds and gag someone to death with it, if you follow my meaning.
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    Jul 16, 2013 3:48 PM GMT
    -If compelling empirical evidence existed that theism created more just and prosperous societies than atheism does, would you still be an atheist?

    -If compelling historical evidence existed that indicated atheism [caused] increased rates of poverty, crime, suffering, anti-social behavior, violence, war, bad grammar, and STDs...would you still be an atheist?

    -If religion did not and never did repress sexuality and oppress others, would you still be an atheist?


    Yes to all the above. I lack faith in a creator/higher power. Faith is not something you can switch on and off depending on whether it benefits you or not (...or is it).
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    Jul 16, 2013 4:16 PM GMT
    My feeling is that athiest or religious, it all comes down to you, and how you apply what you know to be true. Both can be used for great good or great harm.

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    Jul 16, 2013 4:32 PM GMT
    meninlove said She said,

    ""Atheism is about a commitment to the objective truth however nice, or uncomfortable, or pretty, or ugly, or beneficial, or harmful it might be. Atheism cares about objectivity and reality, not consequences. It cares about facts, not feelings. It cares about evidence, not the greater good."


    " [That] 'Religion is harmful, and cruel, and limiting, and mean' is an emotional argument, and it is an irrelevant one."

    Wow...I sure disagree with her on that, and I'm Christian.



    But guys do you actually get your morals from the Cristian bible? When you are presented with a moral dilemma do you resource to your faith or to your common sense and the common sense of the people you care about? What exactly does it mean to you to consider yourself a Christian? Christiany goes beyond a simple cultural definition, it is a religion that has very tangible implications in the real world.
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    Jul 16, 2013 4:32 PM GMT
    "I lack faith in a creator/higher power. Faith is not something you can switch on and off depending on whether it benefits you or not (...or is it)..."

    Atheists bring up faith more often than religious people do. None of the religious people I know use faith as an argument.



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    Jul 16, 2013 4:41 PM GMT
    Oye Vey. This historical evidence is based on correlations. Correlation doesnt amount to causation. There is infact a strong, positive correlation between the chocolate consumed by a country per annum per capital and the number of Nobel Prizes won by citizens of that country. So yes, I'll always be an atheist.
    Also, despite being an atheist, I disagree with the Dawkinsians who put down religion. Religion breeds culture, and above all, is likely to be the only hope a lot of people have left. Take away the religion of a man in the clutches of poverty or any sort of personal strife, and his hope and optimism get crushed as a result. Losing my Grandmother to Dengue after she beat Cancer was tougher on me than on the Hindus in my family who firmly believe she's still around somewhere. I feel that as long as one's beliefs cause no harm to other life, those beliefs are best left alone.
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    Jul 16, 2013 4:44 PM GMT
    JohnSpotter said"I lack faith in a creator/higher power. Faith is not something you can switch on and off depending on whether it benefits you or not (...or is it)..."

    Atheists bring up faith more often than religious people do. None of the religious people I know use faith as an argument.


    I fail to see what other argument there is to define your allegiance to a religion.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jul 16, 2013 4:50 PM GMT
    "The more you know, the more you realize how little you know."---Socrates

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    Jul 16, 2013 4:51 PM GMT
    Bromoflexual saidI stumbled upon a video by Youtube vlogger Karen Straughan. In one of her videos, she talks about atheism and the appeal to consequence. (Starts at 18:04 mark and ends at 25:20)



    She raises some interesting points in these quotes:

    "Atheism is about a commitment to the objective truth however nice, or uncomfortable, or pretty, or ugly, or beneficial, or harmful it might be. Atheism cares about objectivity and reality, not consequences. It cares about facts, not feelings. It cares about evidence, not the greater good."


    " [That] 'Religion is harmful, and cruel, and limiting, and mean' is an emotional argument, and it is an irrelevant one."
    (Edit: Irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists)


    So here are a few questions for the atheists here (the first two taken directly from her video):

    -If compelling empirical evidence existed that theism created more just and prosperous societies than atheism does, would you still be an atheist?

    -If compelling historical evidence existed that indicated atheism [caused] increased rates of poverty, crime, suffering, anti-social behavior, violence, war, bad grammar, and STDs...would you still be an atheist?

    -If religion did not and never did repress sexuality and oppress others, would you still be an atheist?

    (In the interest of full disclosure, I self-identify as Agnostic. And no, I'm not trying to "convert" any of you godless heathens icon_wink.gif )



    If we had to resource to religion in order to be good that would mean that we can only be good out of fear, it would mean that it is not in our nature at all to care for one another without religious means. Under such premise it isnt hard to imagine that rather than having a nicer society we would end up potentially extinct as a specie, considering that we all dont believe in god, we all dont believe in the same gods and all the distinct religions in the world have quite an arbitrary set of moral views.
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    Jul 16, 2013 4:58 PM GMT
    gayinterest saidI fail to see what other argument there is to define your allegiance to a religion.

    I'm sure - despite the fact that I've posted pro-theist arguments all over the forum that have nothing to do with faith.
    Both very religious people and strict atheists do the same thing - block out and forget anything that doesn't support their belief systems. There's no point discussing spiritual philosophy with either side.
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    Jul 16, 2013 4:59 PM GMT
    charlitos said
    meninlove said She said,

    ""Atheism is about a commitment to the objective truth however nice, or uncomfortable, or pretty, or ugly, or beneficial, or harmful it might be. Atheism cares about objectivity and reality, not consequences. It cares about facts, not feelings. It cares about evidence, not the greater good."


    " [That] 'Religion is harmful, and cruel, and limiting, and mean' is an emotional argument, and it is an irrelevant one."

    Wow...I sure disagree with her on that, and I'm Christian.



    But guys do you actually get your morals from the Cristian bible? When you are presented with a moral dilemma do you resource to your faith or to your common sense and the common sense of the people you care about? What exactly does it mean to you to consider yourself a Christian? Christiany goes beyond a simple cultural definition, it is a religion that has very tangible implications in the real world.



    Yes and no. I'm Christian and Bill is Atheist. In my case my belief enhances my sense of right and wrong, in Bill's case his non-belief enhances his sense of right and wrong. Sometimes my faith enhances Bill's sense of right and wrong through me (we talk)and sometimes his non belief enhances my sense of right and wrong through him. We benefit greatly from our non beliefs and beliefs as there is always something to learn from each other.
    lol, this isn't making much sense to you, is it? icon_redface.gif Apologies, we're both tired this morning.
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    Jul 16, 2013 5:03 PM GMT
    JohnSpotter said
    gayinterest saidI fail to see what other argument there is to define your allegiance to a religion.

    I'm sure - des

    Despite the fact that I've posted pro-theist arguments all over the forum that have nothing to do with faith.
    Both very religious people and strict atheists do the same thing - block out and forget anything that doesn't support their belief systems. There's no point discussing spiritual philosophy with either side.


    No, truly (and with no animosity), I cannot see your point.

    Surely, if you identify with any religious group, a core part of that allegiance mean you share the same "faith" as your fellow followers. i.e. you believe in the same god/s, prophets, teachings as described in the religious texts, regardless of the lack of evidence to support them?

    In my mind:

    -Faith is a belief in a concept, being or story that cannot be definitively proven through evidence.
    -Religion is the structured set of traditions and cultural practices which are carried out as a result of faith.

    If I'm mistaken, and misinterpreting your definitions of religion and faith, please make it clear and simple to me.
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    Jul 16, 2013 5:11 PM GMT
    charlitos said
    Bromoflexual saidI stumbled upon a video by Youtube vlogger Karen Straughan. In one of her videos, she talks about atheism and the appeal to consequence. (Starts at 18:04 mark and ends at 25:20)



    She raises some interesting points in these quotes:

    "Atheism is about a commitment to the objective truth however nice, or uncomfortable, or pretty, or ugly, or beneficial, or harmful it might be. Atheism cares about objectivity and reality, not consequences. It cares about facts, not feelings. It cares about evidence, not the greater good."


    " [That] 'Religion is harmful, and cruel, and limiting, and mean' is an emotional argument, and it is an irrelevant one."
    (Edit: Irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists)


    So here are a few questions for the atheists here (the first two taken directly from her video):

    -If compelling empirical evidence existed that theism created more just and prosperous societies than atheism does, would you still be an atheist?

    -If compelling historical evidence existed that indicated atheism [caused] increased rates of poverty, crime, suffering, anti-social behavior, violence, war, bad grammar, and STDs...would you still be an atheist?

    -If religion did not and never did repress sexuality and oppress others, would you still be an atheist?

    (In the interest of full disclosure, I self-identify as Agnostic. And no, I'm not trying to "convert" any of you godless heathens icon_wink.gif )



    If we had to resource to religion in order to be good that would mean that we can only be good out of fear, it would mean that it is not in our nature at all to care for one another without religious means. Under such premise it isnt hard to imagine that rather than having a nicer society we would end up potentially extinct as a specie, considering that we all dont believe in god, we all dont believe in the same gods and all the distinct religions in the world have quite an arbitrary set of moral views.


    Isn't there a biological reason to care for others for the propagation for our species? How does that come from religion?
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    Jul 16, 2013 5:16 PM GMT
    I think he's arguing our moral compass DOES largely come from a genetic predisposition to care for other members of your species; to display empathy and to act accordingly.

    Religion is NOT the source of morality.
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    Jul 16, 2013 5:18 PM GMT
    Charlitos said "If we had to resource to religion in order to be good that would mean that we can only be good out of fear,... "
    Bingo, the problem with inerrancy and literalism of some believers.

    My Mom was at a seminar-group meeting at church. The pastor made a speech about how perfect love casts out fear. My mother put up her hand and offered this,
    "If perfect love casts out fear, then I think perfect fear casts out love."

    Like myself, she married a non-believer, as did her mother. It runs in the family, lol.


  • HottJoe

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    Jul 16, 2013 5:20 PM GMT
    You certainly don't need faith to have morals and ethics.

    The trouble with atheists is that we know almost nothing about consciousness. A lot of what people assume, which is that a brain is required for consciousness, is just as egotistical as religions tend to be. There are too many unanswered questions, too many holes in scientific theories. Our definitions of life and death and nonliving things are false. Rather than a graveyard of lifelessness throughout the universe, all things are living and embodied by the material that we're all made of, the material that consciousness comes from. Plants, animals, and rocks are all made of stardust. Nothing is ever really dead. What we call death is just our perceived loss of individuals.
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    Jul 16, 2013 5:31 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    charlitos said
    meninlove said She said,

    ""Atheism is about a commitment to the objective truth however nice, or uncomfortable, or pretty, or ugly, or beneficial, or harmful it might be. Atheism cares about objectivity and reality, not consequences. It cares about facts, not feelings. It cares about evidence, not the greater good."


    " [That] 'Religion is harmful, and cruel, and limiting, and mean' is an emotional argument, and it is an irrelevant one."

    Wow...I sure disagree with her on that, and I'm Christian.



    But guys do you actually get your morals from the Cristian bible? When you are presented with a moral dilemma do you resource to your faith or to your common sense and the common sense of the people you care about? What exactly does it mean to you to consider yourself a Christian? Christiany goes beyond a simple cultural definition, it is a religion that has very tangible implications in the real world.



    Yes and no. I'm Christian and Bill is Atheist. In my case my belief enhances my sense of right and wrong, in Bill's case his non-belief enhances his sense of right and wrong. Sometimes my faith enhances Bill's sense of right and wrong through me (we talk)and sometimes his non belief enhances my sense of right and wrong through him. We benefit greatly from our non beliefs and beliefs as there is always something to learn from each other.
    lol, this isn't making much sense to you, is it? icon_redface.gif Apologies, we're both tired this morning.



    But Doug, you are cherry picking the parts of Christiany you want to believe in. I have to point out that the bible was written and interpreted by people not god. The good and sensible things in the bible that you preffer to respect, you do so because you are a sensible person who sees the value in being good not because some high power is telling you so. Any book written by anyone who's good, sensible and caring would have the same positive response from you and from Bill. I understand the spiritual value you find in Christianity but please realize that your Christian label will be acounted for and it will be used to spread discrimination and intolerance that are also part of Christianity whether you decide to ignore it or not.
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    Jul 16, 2013 5:32 PM GMT
    charlitos said
    meninlove said She said,

    ""Atheism is about a commitment to the objective truth however nice, or uncomfortable, or pretty, or ugly, or beneficial, or harmful it might be. Atheism cares about objectivity and reality, not consequences. It cares about facts, not feelings. It cares about evidence, not the greater good."


    " [That] 'Religion is harmful, and cruel, and limiting, and mean' is an emotional argument, and it is an irrelevant one."

    Wow...I sure disagree with her on that, and I'm Christian.



    But guys do you actually get your morals from the Cristian bible? When you are presented with a moral dilemma do you resource to your faith or to your common sense and the common sense of the people you care about? What exactly does it mean to you to consider yourself a Christian? Christiany goes beyond a simple cultural definition, it is a religion that has very tangible implications in the real world.


    I self-identify as a spritual theist. The religions of Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, Mormonism, Athiesm/Secularism (Yes, they are "religions"), Islam, Paganism, Wicca, those of certain First Nations and other aboriginal peoples have shaped my views and belief system. This broader based belief has generally served me well during the good and challenging times of my life. This belief system also allows me to happily serve humanity in concert with achieving my own happiness. All of these religions along with the values passed to me by my parents and the cultural norms of the society in which I have lived all come together to form in large part what I call my "moral compass'. My moral compass is unique to me, even though it may be similar to may others.

    It is my view that religions are tools and have served a net positive purpose in my life. I have been on the receiving end of religion used as a "harmful, and cruel, and limiting, and mean" purpose. I overlook those negative experiences because I view it as not my Higher Power which was negative but the person(s) who were wielding the tool.

    The Bible and other texts of other religions have all been useful references for me. I have learned much from the ancient wisdom that exists among the many, many pages of these texts. Although these texts have given me knowledge of values which I have either chosen (or not) to include in my "moral compass", I have gained value from these texts. I do not, however, reference these texts when I have a tough, moral decision to make.

    For me, it all comes down to asking one question: "What is the right thing to do?" Sometimes the answer means doing the right thing for me is doing the right thing for everybody else. Sometimes the right answer is to do the right thing for everybody else despite what would be the easy thing for me.

    Each person gets to choose their own belief system. Each person gets to use their belief system moment by moment as they journey through life. Each person gets to live with the memories of the outcomes of the choices which they make. Each person can change their belief system if they do not like how it's working out.

    Finally, as much as I believe that each person has a right to choose their own belief system, if that belief system is in fundamental opposition to that of the larger society (as defined by societal laws and cultural norms) then sadly either the individual must conform to the laws/norms, work to change the laws/norms, or go to another society which is compatible with their belief system. By extreme example, in my society we do allow a person who's belief system allows for the expression of indiscriminate murder to express their belief without criminal and civil consequence. An individual's belief system must be able to co-exist in relative harmony with others' belief systems or we would not have civilization.
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    Jul 16, 2013 5:33 PM GMT
    Soulasphyxi said
    charlitos said
    Bromoflexual saidI stumbled upon a video by Youtube vlogger Karen Straughan. In one of her videos, she talks about atheism and the appeal to consequence. (Starts at 18:04 mark and ends at 25:20)



    She raises some interesting points in these quotes:

    "Atheism is about a commitment to the objective truth however nice, or uncomfortable, or pretty, or ugly, or beneficial, or harmful it might be. Atheism cares about objectivity and reality, not consequences. It cares about facts, not feelings. It cares about evidence, not the greater good."


    " [That] 'Religion is harmful, and cruel, and limiting, and mean' is an emotional argument, and it is an irrelevant one."
    (Edit: Irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists)


    So here are a few questions for the atheists here (the first two taken directly from her video):

    -If compelling empirical evidence existed that theism created more just and prosperous societies than atheism does, would you still be an atheist?

    -If compelling historical evidence existed that indicated atheism [caused] increased rates of poverty, crime, suffering, anti-social behavior, violence, war, bad grammar, and STDs...would you still be an atheist?

    -If religion did not and never did repress sexuality and oppress others, would you still be an atheist?

    (In the interest of full disclosure, I self-identify as Agnostic. And no, I'm not trying to "convert" any of you godless heathens icon_wink.gif )



    If we had to resource to religion in order to be good that would mean that we can only be good out of fear, it would mean that it is not in our nature at all to care for one another without religious means. Under such premise it isnt hard to imagine that rather than having a nicer society we would end up potentially extinct as a specie, considering that we all dont believe in god, we all dont believe in the same gods and all the distinct religions in the world have quite an arbitrary set of moral views.


    Isn't there a biological reason to care for others for the propagation for our species? How does that come from religion?



    yes it is biological.
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    Jul 16, 2013 5:47 PM GMT
    Charlitos said, "
    But Doug, you are cherry picking the parts of Christiany you want to believe in."

    Exactly. What each Christian takes out of that book determines what kind of Christian they are, and gives tremendous insight into what kind of person they are.

    Christian is believing in Christ and what he tried to tell people. Even then caution is important, because I believe people writing things down later often put their own spin on what he said, and likely added a few bits of their own.

    Then there's this fave analogy of mine about how those stories were passed down before being written down:



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    Jul 16, 2013 6:29 PM GMT
    As a Christian.. I find that more atheist are the closed minded ones.... and I HATE talking to closed minded people.... it's like talking to a brick wall!

    Seriously they made me understand that saying.... icon_mad.gif

    Not saying all of them, just most I've came to meet, in person, or online.
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    Jul 16, 2013 6:39 PM GMT
    TheRece25 saidAs a Christian.. I find that more atheist are the closed minded ones.... and I HATE talking to closed minded people.... it's like talking to a brick wall!

    Seriously they made me understand that saying.... icon_mad.gif

    Not saying all of them, just most I've came to meet, in person, or online.
    That is unfortunate.

    I identify as atheist. Actually I think it might be more atheist agnostic.

    Whatevs. Find more awesome people to be around though!!
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    Jul 16, 2013 6:54 PM GMT
    Soulasphyxi said
    TheRece25 saidAs a Christian.. I find that more atheist are the closed minded ones.... and I HATE talking to closed minded people.... it's like talking to a brick wall!

    Seriously they made me understand that saying.... icon_mad.gif

    Not saying all of them, just most I've came to meet, in person, or online.
    That is unfortunate.

    I identify as atheist. Actually I think it might be more atheist agnostic.

    Whatevs. Find more awesome people to be around though!!


    I'm glad you didn't take this as me personally dissing you
    icon_biggrin.gif
    I used to have a crush on an atheist guy and we had the most civil conversations about it.. so once again some are cool......................... Too bad it went Nowhere but that's a different story lol