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Which term do you prefer to be called?

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Mr. P

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Re: Which term do you prefer to be called?

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Quote:For example, do we have to conclude that we don't "know" anything?I do not think so. Not to denigrate what Aristotle contributed to our species and what this phrase implies, but it is a bit outdated and should be reserved for strictly philosophical debate. It is great and important to question everything...but we must also be prepared to acknowledge that, sometimes, maybe there is indeed an answer and that further questioning may be futile and a waste of time.As a kid knows well, every explanation can be answered with a "why?"...but what does that do to advance a society?Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy PiperEdited by: misterpessimistic  at: 8/4/05 4:20 pm
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Which term do you prefer to be called?

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After posting this I felt the need to clarify a few points.When I used the phrase, "destructive force of fundamentalism," I think I set myself up for a long drawn out explanation of how "my faith is different and not anything similar to the belief of a fundamentalist."So let me be more precise. I don't just fear the fundamentalists. I fear theism in general. The belief in gods scares me. It literally blows my mind. I think it is extremely dangerous.You know how they say pot is a gateway drug leading to more dangerous and addictive drugs? This is how I view even the most passive versions of theism. The fact is theists believe in something that just isn't there. What next? What happens when this peaceful and loving God tells them to take up arms for "Cause X," and go slaughter "People Y," in an effort to gain "Reward Z?" What then?ALL poor thinking needs to be snuffed out.Encouraging and tolerating imaginary gods is a deadly mistake. So screw the fundamentalists. We're all afraid of those guys. I'm more worried about the millions of Lemmings swarming around this world just waiting to be called into action by a charismatic religious leader, prophet or piece of ancient scripture that suddenly is deciphered to be an order to take action against another group of people.Yes, I'm scared of you Mad. I'm scared of Dissident. I'm scared of the Pope. Anyone who believes in something that doesn't even exist scares the shit out of me. If they can believe an invisible man exists they are more than capable of taking an imaginary order from this imaginary man. And history shows that this is exactly what people do over and over and over again.I want our species to learn to accept reality without pretend people up in the sky. I want us to be accountable for our actions and not blame gods, devils, demons and spirits. I want people to respect each other because it is rational to respect one another - not because some imaginary god tells them how to act.Chris
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Dissident Heart

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Re: Which term do you prefer to be called?

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I've chosen the term "Freethinker" because I see my religious journey as one that requires (among other things) rigorous investigation, perennial wonder, constant criticism and the courage to challenge my deepest convictions.I am free to enjoy the wonders of eucharist, worship, prayer, meditation, and contemplation upon the multiple layers of meaning found throughout scripture and the creeds. And I often enjoy this freedom.I am free to expose myself to the critiques, insights, analyses, challenges and arguments of atheists, agnostics, fundamentalists, fanatics, relativists, facists, polytheists, pantheists, panentheists, Marxists, Freudians, Nietzscheans, feminists, post-colonial liberationists and theists of all stripes and colors. And I often enjoy this freedom.I am free to learn from the wide array of traditions that make up Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, and the multitudes of paths that make up the Indigenous spiritualities of the Americas, Africa, and Australia. And I often enjoy this freedom.I am free to relish the literary genius of Shakespeare, Goethe, Byron, Wilde, Whitman, Shaw, Wolff, Beckett, O'Neill, Camus, Sartre, Hughes, Saramango, Kazantzakis, Morrison and countless other writers who present our human crises, dillemas, tragedies, triumphs, despair, glory and occasional great beauty.This is "Freethinker" as I see it, and attempt to live it. I could include the many musicians, artists, athletes, architects, mathematicians, scientists, educators, actors, physicians, comedians and even politicians that belong in this journey of free thinking. This involves a willingness to learn from any source and remain open to the panorama of possibilities that different perspectives provide to our human experience.Ultimately, "freethinking" is a sacred task, an act of reverence: a spiritual journey.
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As I promised before, I am going to restrict myself in this thread to only answering questions addressed to me.Mr. P: Ever since I said what I did, have you noticed the contributions have increased?I've noticed the increase in contributions to this thread. But it also strikes me that a great many of the posts in this thread have strayed very far from the discussion at hand -- we're mired in a silly controversy. The bottom line shouldn't be measured in terms of post count but in terms of quality of discussion. The conference I moderate peaked just before it exploded -- posts were coming in such rapid succession that it was difficult for any one person to keep up. The bottom line should always be the quality of discussion, which is only really measured by the satisfaction that people feel in participating. For my part, I was ambivalent to this thread when it started, and now I'm thoroughly dissatisfied.Beyond all that, there's no good reason to attribute increases in other threads to what goes in in this thread.In a more general scheme, when I said that you sometimes obstruct discussion I also meant to refer to instances in which you have merely expressed disagreement without giving a reason for that disagreement, or when you've reduced a difference of opinion to the conflict between my theism and your atheism. In the first instance, I understand that large priorities sometime keep you from putting more time into these discussions, and I respect that immensely -- at other times you simply seem unwilling to muddy your hands in the argument. In the second instance I think you've seriously misunderstood the position from which I make my arguments in this forum, not to mention the character of my theism. But that last issue is something we can cover in the thread that Chris has requested.Chris: How many theists do you know with this open of a mind?To be honest, I don't know that many theists -- at least, not where I live. Of the theists I do know, it would be hard to estimate the relative openness of their minds, not because it's a qualitative characteristic (though, it is), but because most of them keep their faiths to themselves. Those that I'm closest to are about as openminded as you could hope for, but it's not terribly surprising that I would surround myself with people I admire, is it?As for places where I have previously lived, I've noticed that the settled adults tend to be rather firm in their belief -- they've had time to entrench it and make it not something distinct from their way of life but part of the very fabric of that way. The children and teenagers, however, tend to be far more tolerant; they question more, doubt more; they entertain ideas that conflict with the orthodoxy of the faith in which they were raised. Whether or not their minds will stay open depends a great deal on where they choose to go as they become adults. Those who stay put will typically allow their beliefs to ossify into whatever is most orthodox within the society. Those who migrate to regions with a firm but opposed orthodoxy will either adopt the new orthodoxy or hold to the old as part of their already established identity. And some, like yours truly, will consign themselve to being an alien wherever they go, and always hold orthodoxy at arms length.There are, of course, children and teenagers who fail to fit this pattern, kids who hold to orthodoxy as virulently if not more so than their adult counterparts. It's an interesting phenomenon, but I think it's a minority position.Shallow knowledge?Shallow in, that all most people know about my belief is the rather simple formula "God exists." They don't know what I mean by either term, nor what any of that implies for the rest of my beliefs. What's worse, most people attach certain associations to that idea, and bring them to bear on conversation, such that I can't talk about the relationship between morality and religious conceptions, for instance, without someone assuming that I'm promoting religion.Hell yes I'm interested. Please create a thread devoted to that topic and I'll participate - when I return from Greece in 10 days.Oh boy. How am I going to swing this without looking like the biggest egomaniac in the forum? (Which I probably am, but that's beside the point.)
Keith and Company

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Quote:Other than 'bright', I think all those terms are really irritating, labeling, pigeonholing, and jargonistic.Question, are you being intentionally ironic, or is that just me?A-theist. Not a theist. The opposite of theist. I admit, many people hang a lot of additional baggage on it, but the word itself has a direct meaning.A-gnostic. Not a gnostice. The opposite of gnostice. We even have the testimony of the guy that invented the term to know what it means. Not that most people today know that it means, or use it right, but what can you do. Most people misuse 'buxom,' too.Secular Humanist can be parsed.Won't argue with 'freethinker' as jargon, but really, to say that 'bright' in a list of terms, as a noun, describing none-radioactive people is NOT jargon? Keith's Place
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Re: Which term do you prefer to be called?

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Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. I have given up on "Celibate", which used to mean "not married". The word "Forte", as in, "My Forte is...", lit. "strong" in French, is properly pronounced "Fort", of the same root; but so many people mis-pronounce it "for tay", Italian for "Loud", that I'm afraid it's a lost battle. I refuse to yeild on "timbre", though; it's TAM BURR, goddammit.In my mind educated people still say "data are...", but I got beaten up pretty badly in email for insisting on it. Apparently sigularizing data has become so common that dictionaries now recognize the usage. Are you implying that "buxom" does not mean "big tits"? If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984
Keith and Company

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Implying? Allow me to be more explicit.Buxom originally, when used by traveling Lordships to their dogsbodies to go out and secure them the services of a buxom wench, meant 'obedient.' "Got get me someone that'll do what she's told" was the actual meaning of the demand.I suspect that as the standard of living improved, and the fillies started to flesh out, the acme of desire shifted a tiny bit. Or two not-so-tiny bits, as it were. Keith's Place
Timothy Schoonover

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I hate the term 'bright.' Not only is it a label, thanks to Dawkins, but it's a self-congratulatory label. Yeah, that's what we need. Overcompensate much? He isn't fat. He isn't ugly. Maybe he has a small penis? Maybe he got beat up a lot. I would love to have a conversation with his mother.Here is an interesting excerpt from Ulysses by James Joyce on the subject of belief and labels. I kind of like it.Quote:--You're not a believer, are you? Haines asked. I mean, a believer in the narrow sense of the word. Creation from nothing and miracles and a personal God.--There's only one sense of the word, it seems to me, Stephen said.Haines stopped to take out a smooth silver case in which twinkled a green stone. He sprang it open with his thumb and offered it.--Thank you, Stephen said, taking a cigarette.Haines helped himself and snapped the case to. He put it back in his sidepocket and took from his waistcoatpocket a nickel tinderbox, sprang it open too, and, having lit his cigarette, held the flaming spunk towards Stephen in the shell of his hands.--Yes, of course, he said, as they went on again. Either you believe or you don't, isn't it? Personally I couldn't stomach that idea of a personal God. You don't stand for that, I suppose?--You behold in me, Stephen said with grim displeasure, a horrible example of free thought. Edited by: Timothy Schoonover at: 10/3/05 1:23 am
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Timothy SchoonoverQuote:I hate the term 'bright.' Not only is it a label, thanks to Dawkins,I'm leaning toward adopting it, thanks to Dawkins. Not sure where YOUR "thanks to Dawkins" comes from, though, since he had nothing to do with coining the term. He's one of a number of major thinkers (Dennett is another) who immediately saw the value and adopted it.As a sometimes homosexual who finds "gay" or even "queer" much more user friendly, I'm inclined to think "bright" is the way to go. When the term came out there was a lot of discussion about whether another term would be better, and perhaps another would be better. But somebody took the bull by the horns and came up with a positive word as opposed to the entirely negative "atheist". The deed is done. Bright: Shining light; look at me; I have something to offer. If I am bright in the other sense, "above average intelligence", do you have to assume it means that you are not? Nah. And lots of words in English have multiple meanings in different consequences. I think for you to continue to disagree would be, well, just gay. If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984
Timothy Schoonover

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I wouldn't have chosen gay either but, as you say, what's done is done. I have yet to hear anyone actually use the term bright in person, however, and to be honest, I am doubtful that enough people will take it seriously enough for it to be anything more than a passing trend. As to Gay, unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to apply the term to myself, although it has been applied for me on many occasions. How have you found it to be much more user friendly than homosexual other than it being much less of a mouthful and in a way that relates to its original sense?I could be wrong, but I think most English speakers would interpret bright, when applied to a person, as having something to do with high intelligence. A bright person is rarely someone who is a shining light, but someone who is smart. To apply such a term as a label to one's beliefs is, I think, arrogant at worst and distasteful at best. It just seems ridiculous to me. If trends like this continue, I would not be suprised to hear conversations like the following:Person 1: I'm not a Bright, I'm a Beautiful.Person 2: Oh really? Did you vote Funny, Amazing or Brilliant on the Felicity Bill?Person 1: Usually I vote Brilliant, but I'm also Gay so I had to vote Sexy this time.Person 2: You're Gay? Wow, I'm Rainbow. Want to get a beer?Person 1: Sorry. [Holding up wristband] Also a Balanced.Person 2: Oh, I didn't know. See you at Productive Monday.Quote:I think for you to continue to disagree would be, well, just gay.I'll try not to disappoint you. :P What do you really find so disagreeable about the word atheist?
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