• CarlosDiaz
    I knew that sooner or later the problem of Whoopie Goldberg not having a penis would come up in this discussion and it finally did. Let's see if this finally settles the question posted by me 4 pages ago, in another life and from another galaxy.
  • hks
    Bad writing assumes things. When you assume your know what happens.
  • Jake
    I knew that sooner or later the problem of Whoopie Goldberg not having a penis would come up in this discussion and it finally did.CarlosDiaz

    :smile: :smile:
  • Rank Amateur
    Sister Hilda and her Experimental Theology ApparatusBitter Crank

    What is the purpose of this ??
  • Bitter Crank
    Apparently she felt we needed one.
  • Rank Amateur

    An admitted generalization. Or maybe just overly sensitive. But why do so many atheists/agnostics feel some need to disrespect the theist position? Truly interested in the motivation for this, if you can share.
  • Bitter Crank
    But why do so many atheists/agnostics feel some need to disrespect the theist position?Rank Amateur

    Did that drawing disrespect the theist position? The cover of John Fry's book The Great Apostolic Blunder Machine has a drawing of a church presented as a chugging steam engine. Fry is quite scathing in his criticisms of the church, but is himself a committed Christian, one who is dissatisfied with the church. Nothing new about people being dissatisfied with the church. It's perennial.

    I like satirical, mocking stuff--religion politics, people in general. That's one motivation.

    Some people receive no religious education, direction, or encouragement. They are atheists by default. Most people do receive religious education in various degrees, and have varying degrees of involvement. From the group of religious, some will eventually (sooner or later) reject their religious background. This group tends to be the most hostile towards theism. They feel burnt by religion (burned in some way; disappointed; disturbed by inconsistencies; offended, etc.). They want to demonstrate that they are no longer theist.

    Fairly late in life (in my 40s) I reached a point of formally rejecting theistic belief, and religion in general. Christian theology, however, was too central to my thinking to be tossed overboard. It was the 'operating system' whether I liked it or not. Putting psychological distance between me and the church has always been a necessary but tricky procedure. Lots of cognitive dissonance and ambiguity.

    I'm not generally hostile towards theism, but I do tend to be hostile towards certain presentations of theism. Rigid dogmatism irritates me. Some/many/most/??? of the doctrines of the church have ceased to hold water. For instance, I have never understood the necessity of the Trinity and have yet to hear a good explanation for this doctrine. I'm pretty sure the church could get along without the trinity.

    I actually am a member of a church -- Lutheran -- and contribute time and energy--cleaning, helping in the kitchen, serving meals at a shelter, stuff like that. The church I joined is literally across the street; my late partner was an active member, and after he died I felt I needed to establish more social contacts.

    Christianity is, of course, a critical part of western civilization and it can't and shouldn't be disentangled. One of the lamentable aspects of a decline in religious education and knowledge is that many people are missing a major chunk of information about the culture in which they live. Most religions -- not all, in my opinion -- make positive contributions to society; Christianity does. Of course, not everything it contributes is positive, which is true of other religions too -- or technology, science, secular institutions, etc.
  • Jake
    But why do so many atheists/agnostics feel some need to disrespect the theist position?Rank Amateur

    I disrespect the atheist position too, if that helps. :smile:
  • Rank Amateur

    Thanks, maybe I am just too sensitive.

    but I was, an still am interested in this generalization, that many, present company excluded, atheists feel some need to disparage the theist view. Let's call it the Flying Spaghetti Monster syndrome.

    It is an interesting phenomenon, when so many otherwise thoughtful and intelligent people would be so willing to degrade a perfectly reasonable worldview held by literally billions of other people. I have a theory. It goes something like this.

    People manufacture or develop a view of who they are, how they define themselves
    Some define themselves as intellectuals, learned, sophisticated people.

    Somewhere a little while back, many of these folks were told, and they chose to believe it, that intellectuals don't believe in God, only those other kind of people do.

    And for many, I think that is the order in which their path to atheism went. First, I chose to be an intellectual, intellectuals are atheists, I am an atheist.

    Now for folks like this, there is no point to being an intellectual if you can't use it to make yourself feel better about yourself. And the best way to do that, is to show your superiority over those less gifted, say, the believers.

    Conveniently, there appears at this same time, an equally thoughtless group of vocal, political, fundermental Christians. Some with beliefs so deeply in conflict with fact and reason, they become a easy target for the intellectuals in need of a superiority fix.

    And between these two entrenched camps, lopping bombs at each other is a no mans land where most of us live.

    My hope is for an armistice in this trench warfare of believers and non-believers. Where we are all free to intelligently present our beliefs, and if the are reasonable, have them respected as such by the other side.

    Occasionally, I like to stand up in this no man's land and try to wave a white flag. Normally this results in machine gun fire from both sides.
  • Bitter Crank
    Your theory accounts for a good many FSM Syndrome subjects. A desire to feel superior is not the only etiology of atheists who feel a need to pick on theists.

    Bertrand Russell observed that many atheists bring to their atheism the style of their former belief. So, formerly Catholic atheists will have a flavor that differs from formerly fundamentalist atheists. A wishy-washy Christian or Moslem will become a wishy washy atheist.

    Backgrounder paragraphs:

    Maximum Christianity occurred in the United States around 1960. Professed belief, church attendance, participation in church activities, vocations (priests, nuns, monks), and so forth were all solid. Then, for reasons not fully understood, the tide turned. There was an across-the-board walkout--affecting Protestant and Catholic congregations alike. The Methodist Church, for instance, lost 5 million members during the decade of the 1960s. Nuns departed the convents in droves. Attendance at services and church activities started sliding, continues to slide, and, for the most part, does not recover.

    Are there large, robust, well financed Protestant and Catholic parishes? Yes, particularly in the suburbs. The massive post WWiI suburbanization that was engineered by the FHA and banks produced a somewhat homogenized, white-segregated population that lacked the rootedness of the former urban arrangement. Ethnicity, which had been an important binder and source of vitality in the old urban parishes, was diluted and mixed in the new suburban parishes.

    Now we have a large cohort of people who have either never been members of a church, or haven't been members of a church for a long time. A large share of these people are what I would call "functional atheists" -- they might not call themselves atheists, they may not take upon themselves the name "atheist", and they might admit to being agnostic (which is a cop-out term IMHO). They aren't so much hostile to religion as much as deaf to religion.

    It's the atheists who reacted to strong belief, like atheists that came out of a strong Catholic or Protestant backgrounds, that are most likely to be snarky, snide, and sneering. The atheists that came out of wishy washy backgrounds just don't care enough to attack belief.

    A gay Catholic friend (who trained for the priesthood but left after being subjected to an alcoholic superior) noted that the pickiest critics of Catholic liturgy are those that have become non-believers. Oddly, thy want the ritual to be fastidiously high church. I've seen this in Protestant churches too -- Lutherans and Anglicans, particularly, which inherited and maintained high church liturgy (smoke and bells).

    Your situation, with respect to standing up in the no-man land between believers and atheists, is not unique. The same thing happens in far leftist circles, where the followers of various venerable brands of Marxism unite to shoot down anyone who tries to negotiate common ground. My guess is that vicious infighting goes on among old-style psychoanalysts. Some people just like obscurantist battles. Lots of specialists can not stand deviation.

    Do try to grow a thicker skin for your own sake. (Easy advice to hand out. ME? a few patches of thick skin with lots of vulnerable, thin pink skin just waiting for a lashing of nettles.)
  • Jake
    Every ideology ever invented both divides itself from other ideologies, and more telling, sub-divides in to competing internal factions. The universality of this experience suggests, or perhaps proves, that the source of the division and conflict is something that we all have in common. A desire to feel superior arises from this same source.
  • HiSpex

    I go 2 church, am protestat, reddeem gospel, very few rules compared 2 othres. But problem is philosophy is about knowledge which affect belief. So if am philospher how not to apply reason to belief also? Is why am more athiest even if I go 2 church. My reason is deeper than faith coz more practical value than just hope in life after death. If religon say now is more important then I see more value. If idea of tomorrow is more important then when is today value?
  • CarlosDiaz
    just in case you haven't already seen it, I think you guys may like this tweet https://twitter.com/AtheismBotJP/status/1063761580079239168 It is from a Japanese account called new atheism (新無神論). Images are clear enough and no translation is needed.
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