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Penelope, DWill and Robert Tulip about religious belief. 
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Will
You'll understand, I'm sure, why I'll need to see this evidence for myself, be satisfied that such ideas as civility and respect have been somehow measured, and see that there could really be a link of causation, not just correlation, between low religious affiliation and these positive qualities.


Then you should take a look at some of the latest studies to find out if you agree...

In those studies religious people were shown (per capita) to be more hypocritical, bigoted and ignorant of the subjects that they claimed to care about then their atheist counterparts as well as having a higher criminal percentage and divorce rate.

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Will
In passing, I note that the U.S. is a religious society. It is prosperous, and I think if we are speaking comparatively, it is also a society in which civility and respect are the norm.


Following are the results of such studies...

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America, which is the most religious nation in the industrialized West, not only has higher rates of crime than less religious nations, but also has the highest rates of social dysfunction on every measurable scale. Even within America, areas with the highest rates of religiosity have the highest rates of crime and social dysfunction. Americans with no religious preference, which includes most atheists, are under-represented in the American prison system relative to their numbers in the general population.

atheism.about.com/od/isatheismdangerous/a/RiskyCrime


[quote]The Barna Research Group, an evangelical Christian organization that does surveys and research to better understand what Christians believe and how they behave, studied divorce rates in America in 1999 and found surprising evidence that divorce is far lower among atheists than among conservative Christians



Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:00 am
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I think what we need is a typology of belief that would encompass both secular and religious beliefs. Someone may have done something like this. We need more psychological precision to classify the things people are said to believe. I'm still strongly inclined to think that a rather militant stance against religion, per se, is never going to produce genuine understanding and consensus, only more culture wars.

Sorry to abuse anyone's patience with all of this. I don't speak as a believer of any kind, only as someone who values liberalism (my own idea of it, not the political version).


Above is a quote from DWill -

To take your last paragraph first. You are not abusing anyone's patience. These issues need to be addressed.....

I agree with you that evangelical or fundamentalist atheism is never going to work....even with such a charismatic proclaimer as our Frank....

There is something in the human soul....that searches for a pattern....we might call it God.......we might not.

Chaos theory makes nice TeeShirts when computerised.....as Terry Pratchet says.....but it is unacceptable to the rational mind.


OK - so the Christian Doctrine is perhaps too mythologised......although, the words attributed to the Jesus character.....are very profound and worth considering.,...and....can change ones perpective on life. Does it really matter if Jesus is not historically accurate?

If we have a deeper sense of self.....than just the body..If the corporal reality of us is not the true reality....then the people, like Jesus and Buddha who taught us about our eternal lives, are worth considering.....but THEY ARE NOT WORTH FIGHTING ABOUT.



Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:10 pm
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Penelope
To take your last paragraph first. You are not abusing anyone's patience. These issues need to be addressed.....


I agree, no one abusing my patience, I like discussing this stuff. :)

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Penelope
I agree with you that evangelical or fundamentalist atheism is never going to work....even with such a charismatic proclaimer as our Frank....


Technically there is no such thing as evangelical or fundamentalist atheism; Fundamentalist atheism cannot exist because there are no 'fundamental' beliefs for atheists to hold.

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Fundamentalism is a label applied to religious movements that, at the very least, emphasize the importance of "fundamental" beliefs in contrast to modern developments. Atheism isn't even a philosophy or a belief system, much less a religion, but even if we ignore that we still have to conclude that "fundamentalist" can't apply here because the rejection of religion isn't a "fundamental" belief.

There is also a real double-standard here in that irreligious atheists who are critical of religion are expected to "moderate" their negative conclusions about religion, but you don't see similar statements about religious theists who think religion is a good thing. Why aren't theists "dogmatic" for insisting that religion is necessarily a good thing and who are not interested in further research before latching on to this conclusions firmly? Why aren't Christians called "fundamentalists" when they insist that Christianity is a force for good and without wondering if further research will prove them right?

atheism.about.com/od/fundamentalistatheists/a/AtheistDogmatic


And just to be clear Penelope, I do not think you meant to imply that that is what I am doing. I just thought I would clear up the terminology for future discussion.

As I have said before I do not condone forcing my belief on others, but I would like the same courtesy from the religious, a courtesy I have yet to see.

Quote:
Penelope
OK - so the Christian Doctrine is perhaps too mythologized......although, the words attributed to the Jesus character.....are very profound and worth considering.,...and....can change ones perspective on life. Does it really matter if Jesus is not historically accurate?


Not to me... I can see the wisdom in some of the words of Jesus just as I can in Yoda or Mr. Spock. But I doubt you will find many religious people share that view.

What bothers me the most is the blatant lying of the church; which include the insistence that Jesus was a historic character without a speck of credible evidence.

Another false claim is the Christianity is a force for good claim.

Any honest look at the history of Christianity will show that not only is the claim not true but it has never been true.

What Jesus is currently said to stand for is another matter altogether.


Later



Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:50 pm
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Frank 013,
You are a capable advocate for your position. I'm not sure that there isn't, beyond all the evidence, some insuperable tempermental/philosophic barrier that will prevent us from agreeing. But you have given food for thought, and I will continue to mull over these things and review the evidence. Now, though, time for a break!

Will



Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:13 am
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Frank 013,
You are a capable advocate for your position. I'm not sure that there isn't, beyond all the evidence, some insuperable tempermental/philosophic barrier that will prevent us from agreeing. But you have given food for thought, and I will continue to mull over these things and review the evidence. Now, though, time for a break!

Will


I thank you for your compliment. And even if we never agree on these matters I have enjoyed discussing them with you. In my opinion the fact that you are willing to listen and consider these possibilities shows an open mind and that is a rarity in today's age.

Enjoy your break

Later



Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:52 pm
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I hope you will keep in touch DWill. Rather pessimistic posts from you, here and there, today.

Thanks Frank.



Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:18 pm
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Penelope,

I don't want to speak for Will but the things we are discussing can be earth shattering for some people, especially when they begin to realize that what has been taught to them all of their life was probably a lie.

Now in Will's case he does not seem to be a traditional theist, but he had apparently accepted some of the propaganda that Christianity touts.

If Will needs some time to process this new information and confirm it through his own research then I have no problem giving him that opportunity. I don't really see anything specifically pessimistic about his approach, just cautious skepticism, and when dealing with subjects like these that caution and skepticism are natural.

Of course I realize I could be completely off the mark here... that's really for Will to say.

Later



Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:00 pm
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You are right Frank in the case of this discussion, that it does take some assimilating. But I was not only referring to this post from DWill - but another one also, where he is talking about reading up the effects of global warming.

We try to take one day at a time....but sometimes several days attack us at once!!!! ;-)



Sat Mar 22, 2008 6:56 am
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QUOTE

Penelope said . . . I don't agree 100% with the Salvation Army - but they are organised to give practical help - and I know that they do it for the same reasons as I want to do it. And they let me help, they don't insist that I accept all of their dogma.

UNQUOTE

I dunno' about that . . . I've been involved with the Salvation Army a few times in my life.

At age 8, I took a pledge never to drink or smoke - ridicuclous, my parents said - why would they expect an 8 year old to make such a pledge. But they shrugged it off - I went to afternoon Sunday school there, simply because I enjoyed it.

We were United protestants - I went to the United Church Sunday school in the morning - the Salvation Army in the afternoon and sometimes enjoyed an event at the Anglican church!

Quite a mix - the only church my mother didn't like me going to was Baptist - I don't know why - I loved the Happy Hour session on Friday night at Waverly Baptist - I used to drop in after choir practice at the Bellefair United.

My parents weren't too amused with Pentecostal either - a school friend once got me interested in their dogma - her aunt had given her a lot of material and it was pretty scary - the fire and brimstone stuff.

I stayed up a whole night worrying about it - my mother went over to the girl's mother and told her about it - her mother put a stop to the aunt tutoring her daughter in the faith too.

Anyway, Penelope - about the SA . . . they are very good people - but they are 'adamant' in their faith.

In 1994 I took my formal computer training - the old WP 4.9 - just before windows. The course was funded by Employment Canada - a social worker got me into it. It was 18 weeks long - I loved it!

The school itself was 'administered' by the Salvation Army - they insisted on that religion being first and foremost - when the phone was answered it was:

Good Afternoon! Salvation Army Work Training . . . etc. I forget how the whole title went - but it was ridiculous.

When it came time to go out on 'interviews' for jobs, you'd have it on your resume that you took this computer training - you gotta' put something, where else have you been for the last 18 weeks, eh?

We students often felt put off with this business of the phone being answered that way when prospective employers phone for a 'work/school reference'.

We felt they might think we had been living in some fleabag hostel downtown because of this.

We, of course, didn't look at it this way ourselves - we'd appreciate the 18 weeks training in a work-environment teaching program and it certainly wasn't any fleabag homeless hangout - it was an up-to-date, modern office environment there!

But we were right in our concerns - a lot of people do assume that anything the 'Sally Ann' runs is strictly charity and if you're there, you're down and out, therefore qualified for nothing.

-----------------------

About their imposing their own religion on you . . . well, religion was taught for about an hour once a week - the Brigadier would come in and speak to the classes and lead us in prayer.

Some people resented that - and you couldn't blame them really - a lot of the people were 'refugees', running from their countries - they were Muslims! And it must have been an affront to them to have 'our religion' shoved down their throats in this way.

They, btw, most of them, were quiet people who said very little about how things were run - a lot of them were just too scared they might be sent back to their own country if they didn't co-operate with the employment counsellors.

(One of the girls cried in my arms - I'd been elected to help her write a story with the computer program - that was one of our assignments - her English wasn't up to par and she was afraid she'd 'fail' the assignment and get sent back - geesh! That was tough going - she did ok though)

I thought it was kinda' silly to be including religious training in our program, but that's how the Salvation Army people are - if they're involved in anything, even if they're being paid to run a program, they figure they've got a right to make you attend meetings where they preach 'their thing'.

--------------------

I once went through a bad time in my life - I stayed, for a few weeks, in a spiritual recovery home - it was the Salvation Army who provided it.

It was a wonderful place - if you weren't out working somewhere, you had to attend chapel - I didn't mind at all - I enjoyed going to chapel and enjoyed singing the old hymns - even played the piano a bit there.

But there were girls staying there who were not Christian - one was Jewish -she didn't like being made to sit in for chapel sessions twice a day. But they made her do it.

I didn't think that was right.

----------------

All in all, I respect the Salvation Army - they are a wonderful organization and are helpful to those who are down and out. But they can be what's looked at as being 'dogmatic'.



Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:24 am
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Frank?

What is it you have in your arms, in the picture you've used for your avatar?

Just curious . . .



Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:29 am
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I do not think that is true at all... I think that even without religion kind people would still be generous and nasty people would still be poop heads; what religion does offer is the organization to make things happen, people unaffiliated with a church have a much harder time getting their help to the people who need it.

This kinda' veers off, I guess, but I'll tell it anyway . . .

I think the reason religious organizations have a problem with getting volunteer help is because of some of the 'religious volunteers' themselves.

I worked a volunteer in a place called St. Francis Table - Friday mornings only. The job involved a little food prep in the early part of the morning, then I attended the 'social room' after.

I was 'hostess' there - poured coffee for people, etc.

It was indeed a 'smoking room' - the designated smoking area. As I smoke myself, it didn't bother me.

Another woman, who took the job on mornings during the week came in once to thoroughly put me in my place - she started dictating to me what I was to clean up afterwards - talking down to me like I was some skivvy.

I think she thought I was one of the 'work training students' - the people who absolutely 'had to be there'.

Actually I wasn't - I took the job on because I wanted to do it - I wanted to be involved.

I just didn't go back.

----------------------------

I was also offended by one of the 'Brothers' there - he acted as if I was some kind of user . . . he came by my station one morning to see what I needed for my counter - I told him I just loved the chocolate covered biscuits - bring some of those.

He said 'I think Carly, you're here just to help yourself - you don't really want to help those in need'.

I really didn't think that was called for.

----------------------------

When I later ran into Brother Allan (the guy whose command I worked under - he and I got on great - I just loved the guy) he asked when I was coming back - I told him I wasn't and why - he also didn't care for the 'other brother' and understood that.

And the lady - the self-appointed 'boss' - he said you don't have to worry about her anymore - she's having heart surgery.

I said 'I suppose I'm suppose to express my great sympathy, eh?'

Religious indeed - I can live without those kinda' religious people.

An 'employment counsellor' told me that I shouldn't have been there anyway - it was more or less a place for trainees to train - while I was there, I was doing somebody else out of a place to train.

---------------------

Volunteer situations - even when they have nothing to do with religion - they can be tricky.

I live just over from High Park - it's a very large park here in Toronto - one of the largest in the world. Anyway, the community was building a big playground and we were encouraged to volunteer.

I went over and did a couple of short stints - but I found there wasn't any place you could fit in - some of the women there on the 'sign-up' tables - they were old girls and kinda' considered their places as being something to be protected.

When I was given a seat from which to sign people in, one of them was quite indignant when she came back from her break.

I think it's because they were seniors - out in the 'work force' once again - being made to feel like they had 'jobs', so they were a bit defensive of those 'jobs'.

If any of you old blue-hairs from my neighbourhood are reading this, lemme' give ya' a little advice . . .

LIGHTEN UP, LADIES!

Heh! Heh!

-----------------------

Anyway, this long-winded as always, little piece was just to tell about 'religion' and how 'religious groups' might be better able to find volunteers - you might make people feel like they are needed and are welcome to take a 'place' in your organization.

You 'religious' ladies don't need to become anybody's 'boss'.



Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:53 am
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Post Re: HI!
lawrenceindestin wrote:
Is there a chance you two could take a look at my blog and leave your comments. I'd be much obliged. Lawrenceindestin


Where is your 'blog', Lawrence?



Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:06 am
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Guess it's time for me to check outta' here . . . I just want to say that although I've had a bit of religious training (as you can glean from some of my posts) especially when very young, I don't really consider myself as being 'anything' when asked 'what religion?'

I'm a protestant, I guess and that (to me) means that I am not a Roman Catholic.

I've been into a few things - I love Buddhism - I've studied Hari Krishna and I've delved into the 'ghastly pagan' Wicca.

The aforementioned 'three', btw, are not necessarily 'Godless'.

Some Buddhists believe in God - some Buddhists do not believe in God.

Some Buddhists consider their 'buddhism' as being a 'philosophy'.

Some Buddhists consider their 'buddhism' as being a religion.

A Buddhist does not have to believe in a 'God' in order to be a Buddhist. A Buddhist does not have to 'not believe' in a 'god' in order to be a Buddhist.

The same goes for Wicca - there's the Goddess of the Moon . . . you don't have to believe she's a God - like Jesus - a Wiccan (and some Wiccans do) can attend and be a member of the church! Any church!

Wicca is a 'way of life' more than anything else. Yes, it involves witchcraft - WHITE witchcraft - NOT the evil kind.

Hari Krishna - Krishna, of course, is God.

All of those are fine by me.

I believe in God - I don't believe in 'religion'.

I am not against anyone who does believe in their 'religion'.

I do not believe in justifying the killing or injuring of other human beings in the name of God.

So what I'm trying to say is that even though I enjoy 'religious' discussions, I am not 'religious', nor am I an 'atheist'.

I believe in living my life according to what I instinctively feel is 'right'. If it's not 'right' I don't do it.

I try to keep to that.



Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:21 am
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Carley said:

Quote:
I believe in God - I don't believe in 'religion'.


I absolutely agree with you Carley and I can add.....

I love Churches and Cathedrals - when they are empty. :D



Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:00 am
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Hi Penelope,

I didn't mean that I'm taking a break from the forums, just that I seem to have worn out the topic I was on for now. I'm getting too much out the experience to want to stop talking with such interesting people . Thanks for the remark.

Will



Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:57 pm
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DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

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