30th September 2011

“Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying.”

Kurt Vonnegut1922 – 2007

13 Responses to “30th September 2011”

  1. R J Says:

    and he was right

  2. Atheist MC Says:

    Terrifying… and really, a bit disappointing. Whilst I will always defend someone’s right to hold whatever bollocks they like to be sacred, I’m always slightly saddened when I discover otherwise intelligent and rational people are religious.

  3. archaeopteryx Says:

    Privately held bollocks, to use Atheist MC’s wonderful term, is fine. Spreading it to society at large isn’t. Unfortunately, according to theocrats, that is what their imaginary overlord wants them to do.

    Good to hear a quotation from Vonnegut – I have always liked his work.

  4. CaptainZero Says:

    What a great quote! I love a good pithy comment. And yeah, A-MC, it disappoints me as well. I suspect KV was saying something deeper too with that word, capacity. It says something about us as a species. I’ve met people who were rational on the topic of religion and then turn out to be anti-vaxers or into raiki (laying on of hands). We have a capacity to believe things counter to evidence simply because we prefer to. Our group identity can often trump our intellect. That IS frightening.

  5. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    What happens to the average person who is obedient to authority when it overrides their own moral judgement?

    One inescapable thing for me about “unquestioning faith” or just “faith” in general, to an any authority at all (particularly divine though), is that I can’t help but to wonder what was going on at Auschwitz in the minds of the furnace operators.

    If you accept something on faith alone seems to me you have subordinated your good sense to nothing. Why do that? The promise of an after-life?

    Stanley Milgrim where are you when we need you now? http://www.muskingum.edu/~psych/psycweb/history/milgram.htm

  6. electrabotanical Says:

    Unquestioning faith was never a family value in the home of my youth or the home where I raise my kids now. We do, however, value learning, kindness, affection and balance. We welcome questions and beleive that knowledge of this world will get you farther than blindly following one path or another.

    I realize that religions have an important role to play in organizing society and providing charity. But why does it have to come along with mythical goobity gack? Is that the only way to get people to come together and agree on common goals (besides a common enemy)? I often wonder what the secular substitute for relgion might be, in terms of organizing families, charity, holidays and community works.

    The druid-type option appeals to me. Set your holidays by the annual sun cycles and celebrate the events of the unfolding year. The first flowers of spring, the first fruits of summer, the cozy dark days of winter. And at those times of year you gather with your neighbors, and plan how to share with the less fortunate. No sky daddy required, though I do think the Sun was the inspiration for the Son (of God)

  7. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Electra I’m with you on the holiday thing but for this statement ” religions have an important role to play in organizing society and providing charity” I can’t agree.

    Religious charities are notorious for their heavy operating costs associated with their charitable efforts. To the point where the line between charity and profit center is blurred.

    The industry of religion is charity, ceremony, blessings, et cetera. Heck “marriage” wasn’t even sanctioned by the church until the 16th century after they figured themselves for a slice of the pie.

    As for organizing societies I think history speaks for itself here. Religion not only divides peoples but consumes them from within societies. And just in case you would slough off the religious atrocities as “things of the past” or a “few bad eggs”, as is very common, are you aware that top Vatican officials are being investigated by the Internal Criminal Court right now? To include the Pope?

    As pillars of morality the various religions either conflict and/or fall so short of real human ethics.

    Maybe we don’t get very far overtly expressing intolerance as a debate strategy but let’s admit we aren’t going to get anywhere with religious whackos anyway.

    Rather than enabling religious nut bags I’d prefer to be to call them what they are: anything but good.

  8. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Mohammed the vile and filthy epileptic Muslim pig:

    The prophet’s interactions with women, his insatiable lust for lascivious ladies, his lecherous behaviour with his wives and concubines are components that form the model of a true muslim.

    The prophet is the perfect muslim man for all devout muslims as he is the one whom Allah chose to reveal the Quran to: in the midst of epileptic fits.

    And because he is the perfect man it is every muslim’s duty to follow him. For example, they cannot eat pork because Mohammed disliked it, they have to grow a beard like he had, they have to loot and kill like he did and likewise they have to molest and treat women inhumanly as he did!

    Mohammed was nothing but the swollen sphincter of a pig after being ass raped by a dog. And believe me, I’m going easy on him.

  9. electrabotanical Says:

    I also do not argue that religions are by definition more moral. It’s a claim of theirs, with some limited success in some areas. They try, but they’re really in the business of consolidating power and gathering adherants more than in being truly good and just.

    And the good moral people you do meet with beliefs? They’d be just as great without God, I beleive. But I don’t dismiss the goodness of a guy I know who’s a Catholic, just as I hope he won’t dismiss my goodness because I’m an athiest. I hope that now that he knows me and my humanity he wouldn’t be shocked to find out. He doesn’t know – because he suggested the other day that I “hit the knees and twirl the beads” when I was having trouble finishing a writing project. Does he have unquestioning faith? Probably. But I mostly find that capability frightening in threatening people, and people who vote Republican.

  10. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Well electra I can understand why you would feel Republicans are frightening or threatening. The party hasn’t exactly been covering themselves in glory these days.

    I for one am a Republican and it pains me greatly to see this the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Susan B Anthony, Frederick Douglas, Jackie Robinson, and a whole history of progressive minded forward thinking people hijacked by the Southern Democrats, the Confederates.

    How an Al Gore Democrat in Rick Perry is running as a Republican is beyond me.

    As for your friend we all have enabler friends that we like and we don’t judge for having been brainwashed. I’m sure he’s a nice person.

    Now that you know me, or at least that I’m an atheist Republican, progressive minded on social issues, are you less threatened or frightened by Republicans? I mean you have a space reserved for your friend, an exception within the ranks of religious nut bags. Can you create a similar space for me, within the ranks of Republican nut bags?

  11. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Electra check out http://www.republicansforobama.org/

  12. electrabotanical Says:

    Sinjin, I know plenty of Republicans, and get along with plenty of them but the current crop of leaders are, well awful. And the current crop of Democrats isn’t much better. I blame the bankers and citizens united and peak oil for the BS we find ourselves in. I can’t wait until the Occupy Wallstreet movement makes it nationwide. Now there’s a bunch of truly free citizens.

  13. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Electra thanx for the clarity, I think we are on exactly the same page. It is very refreshing to hear you speak about the “Occupy Wall St” movement as I’ve been following that story too.

    The only Republican candidates I can stomach are Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Jon Huntsman and I’m doubtful any has a real chance of being nominated.

    I’m not for President Obama but I’m not against him either. Were a complete unsalvageable wreck like Perry or Bachmann to win the nomination I’d clearly vote for the President; a vote against these two lunatics.

    Mit Romney is yesterday’s news. We’ve seen that, been there done that, before. It isn’t getting any better than it ever was. Sure he wins points for being the handsome candidate, and handsome candidates get votes, but I think that is all he brings to the table.

    I also pick up or sense disappointment that extends well beyond the presidential hopefuls and I’m in agreement there too. I don’t think it is so much the Democrats, although they ahave their loons too, but many Republicans should identify themselve as the theocrat party. Rich Santorum is absurd. Google hislast name, it is hilliarious.